Navigation ‘No-No’s’ – Presenting site visitors with an effective navigation menu instantly provides them with a guide to the type of content they can expect. Generally they see a Blog, Shop or Products page, About Us, Contact mechanism, perhaps a Search facility and others depending on the type of site. These are all standard navigation elements, which put a site visitor’s mind at ease.
However even with just a standard set of top-level menu items many people muddy the water by adding sub-level complexity and mouse-control issues.
Avoid these scenarios:
- Menu placement in the middle of a page. Don’t try to set a new paradigm for web navigation – stick to placing your menu at the top or side of the page.
- Sub-level menu options that don’t relate to the top-level topic.
- Long lists of sub-level options such as product codes which are meaningless to customers.
- Allowing ‘hover over’ instead of ‘click’ to action a selection often means people are sent to links they didn’t intend to choose.
- Collapsing-Menu-Syndrome when you have to be extremely dexterous with the mouse to click down, then hover over and move to the next level down. Making your visitor do this once is one time too many.
If limited screen real estate for a wide list of top-level menu items is an issue there are other ways that you can present a deeper selection without frustrating and potentially losing your site visitor. Make icons or images into to menu items or take advantage of the ‘mega menu’ option in most modern themes.