Navigation Your technically perfect code, stunning visual design and useful content will all be wasted if visitors to your site can’t navigate their way around effectively. Most usability issues seem like commonsense, but if they are so obvious why do so many sites get it wrong? The navigation scheme on a web site should make it easy for the visitor to answer these questions: Where am I? Where am I in relation to the rest of the site? Where can I go? How can I get back to where I once was?
Things to avoid: “ Mystery meat” navigation Unconventional systems Using different labels for links to the same place Not identifying External/file links as such Active link to current page Back-and-forth or no navigation Broken links
Links that don’t look like links
Non-links that look like links
Visited links don’t look any different to unvisited links.
Buttons that aren’t really (Click area is smaller than it seems it should be.)
Test, test, test! Navigation should be Simple & Consistent Have one navigation system for the entire site. Link directly to items, don’t lead your visitors on a leisurely stroll through your site - they want what they want and they want it now. Careful site planning enables you to organise your content in the most helpful manner - such preparation is a key step toward a good navigation system.
Breadcrumbs (global usage). Your logo should always link to your home page. Consider providing an explicit Home link too. As users of the web we come to expect certain conventions. You have to work very hard to design a intuitive navigation system that doesn’t fit existing moulds. Things that work Test, test, test!
Recommended sites: Vincent Flanders’ Mystery Meat Navigation: http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/mysterymeatnavigation.html Further reading: Web Navigation, Designing the User Experience by Jennifer Fleming The Un Usually Useful Web Book by June Cohen