Web design – there’s all kinds of discussion about what that should look like, but the one thing that seems to ring true across this discussion is that it should include easy navigation. In fact, professional web designers will confirm that your website navigation is a key element in determining your sites effectiveness. Let’s look at the important elements in website navigation.

For your site’s navigation to work it needs, to make sense to your visitors – remember that’s the average person. That doesn’t mean creativity needs to go out the window. There are all kinds of examples of creative, well designed websites that include an easy to use navigation layout in their web design.

Consider the purpose of your website and who your audience is when determining your navigation in your web design. Generally, it is to sell a product or service, other times it’s to inform visitors about a product or service, and many times, it is a combination of both.

Always remember the ‘three click rule.’ This is used by almost all pro web designers. What it means is that your visitor should never be more than three clicks away from getting the information they seek.

You should not use flash movies or other splash pages on your site. It’s better to keep your web design simple but attractive. It will load faster and keep your visitors happier. However, should you decide you must have Flash then make sure you use the Meta Refresh tag, which will automatically take the visitors to your home page after a couple of seconds.

Navigation Elements

  • Top Menus – Located below the page header graphic where your logo generally is. The menu items can be single links, expanding menus, or drop down menus.
  • Right Side Navigation – Not used that often, but when you do use it implement as a column on the top right side of the page. This is generally where ads are placed.
  • Left Side Navigation – Generally implemented as either a text or column area on the left top portion of the page. Often used for navigation menus.
  • Bottom Menus – Can be used as a menu bar or footer.
  • Internal Page Links – Every page on the site should be within three clicks from your home page. The important pages should be one click away.
  • Shopping Carts – Every page should prominently display a view cart button.

There you have it – always remember your web design should include easy navigation.