How to Redesign Your Website Navigation the Right Way
You might be thinking, why should I focus on a redesign? The fact is, redesigns can prove instrumental in your ability to convert customers or attract readers. Multiple studies have proven that consumers are judging websites based on first appearances. Businesses with stellar products and services can easily lose valuable customers because of subpar website design that doesn’t accurately reflect the brand. First impressions are lasting impressions, and redesigns give you a fresh look.
Your site should also reflect common trends in the web design world. For example, in today’s age, you’re expect to have a mobile responsive site. Other web design trends in 2018 included using bolder typography, incorporating video content where possible, and adding social and support chat features. Generally speaking, you should be redesigning your site every 2-3 years. Here’s how to redesign your website navigation the right way:
Have a Redesign Plan
It’s crucial that your team use the right methodology during a website redesign. According to Lucidchart, the most common methodologies are Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, and Scrum. Consider hiring a web design agency if you aren’t sure where your redesign efforts fit in with those project management styles.
Overall, it’s important to understand that your website’s navigation and navigation style play a critical role in the overall design and usability of your site. As such, you should be incorporating navigation best practices into your design. Additionally, during a redesign, keep the following navigation must-knows in mind:
Create a Sitemap
A sitemap allows you to plan your navigation in advance, taking into account how each page plays a role. Far too often, business owners and bloggers create a new page in the dashboard without a high-level overview of its role in relation to other pages.
Create an outline format for early prepping. For example, like most websites, you’ll want an “About” page. However, what pages sit under that umbrella? Instead creating separate navigation items for “Team” and “Mission Statement,” why not group them under the “About Us” umbrella? Create custom diagrams with online tools and visual sitemap creators to help guide you in the planning process.
Always Link the Logo
There are certain practices that consumers are accustomed to when it comes to their online experiences. One of the biggest is the ability to click on the logo to return to the homepage. The position of the logo—the top left corner—is also standard. And while this isn’t necessarily a must, the position matters, too. People prefer familiar items, so that they don’t have to think about where they’ll go next. For this reason, a hamburger menu is best the majority of the time. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be afraid to reinvent the wheel.
If your brand is creative and you want to exemplify that, by all means, go ahead. However, do so with the understanding that, depending on the industry you’re in, you might lose a few visitors. If your target market is seniors, you’re better off sticking to tried and true methods. Otherwise, check out some of these more creative navigation menus for inspiration.
Pay Special Attention to Language
Sometimes web designers understand design language well, but aren’t sure how to communicate with the everyday reader using language that’s most applicable to them. Your navigation should utilize language that communicates to your target audience.
For example, if you’re designing a page for a corporate website in the bioscience industry, a term like “Articles” might fit well. However, for an ecommerce brand, a more appropriate term would be “Blog.” This is the language that users have come to associate with content, depending on the industry you’re in. A scientific journal wouldn’t use the word “Blog” to describe research-heavy, professional writing. Similarly, an ecommerce store would use a word like “Shop” instead of “Marketplace.”
Don’t Forget About Your Footers
There’s some information that people scroll directly to your footers for. Unfortunately, many people forget that the footer is also an important part of your navigation. Your footer is where certain important information—like job postings, media information, business location details, and terms and conditions—are placed. You should also incorporate social media icons into this area. A combination of color, icon, and text is great for a footer. You should also incorporate a call-to-action in this area. These inventive footer designs should steer you in the right direction.
Implement a Responsive Site
There’s no question about it: your site and navigation should be responsive. In 2015, Google announced that they had more searches on mobile devices than desktop in multiple countries, including the United States. Tablet internet consumption has also grown significantly. When a user visits your site and has trouble maneuvering around your navigation, chances are that they’ll move on. You don’t want to lose people simply because you didn’t have a responsive site.
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