Friday, January 4, 2013

The Importance of Good Website Navigation

Website users, especially busy soccer parents, don’t usually have the time to sit and search all over a website to find what they are looking for. You can help keep your visitors on your website with clean, concise and organized site navigation.

There are two common spots for website navigation: the top of the website (horizontally across) or the left side (in a vertical list). These are the two places that most people will look for a list of links to navigate your website. Some websites will also offer a complete list of links at the bottom of each page. People are trained to go there for links as well (but usually as a last resort).

When designing navigation for your website, keep in mind the “Three Click Rule.” A user will click on an average of three links before they leave the website. Try not to bury your links so deep that you have to click more than three times to get to them. You want to get your user to the content they desire as quickly as possible. Note that long lists of links are just as cumbersome as hiding them ten layers deep. Organization is key when creating site navigation.

It’s best to order your links by topic. Start with general topics (such as About Us, Region Board, Referees, Coaches, etc.) and get more refined in the sub-navigation. You can categorize all of your site content with these main topics. Try not to have too many topics in your main navigation, as it will make it more difficult to navigate. I always try to limit the topics to 8 – 10 at the most.

A sub-navigation can be displayed as a drop-down under the main category, or in a separate navigation on the left side of the page. It’s recommended to not go more than two layers deep with navigation.

If you keep these practices in mind, users will be able to navigate your site with ease and find exactly what they are looking for!

Questions? Leave a comment!

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