It is very important for today’s business owners to offer an easy to understand and navigate website. In other words, efficient web design is everything. One important thing to remember is that beautiful web design doesn’t always mean good web design that will make visitors convert to customers. There are a lot of little things that could be improved for the best navigation with the highest conversion results, however this is a science on its own and we will not be covering all of the technicalities in this post. One thing at a time. So let’s look at the seven things that will make your site navigation more pleasant for your customers.
“Your primary goal should be aligned with the business goals, not with the aesthetic quality of the website.”
Do not try to reinvent the wheel
Keeping standard navigation icons makes it easier for your visitor to find where s/he wants to go. Although innovative design might look more appealing to you, always put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Creative Good Inc. published a study in which 39% of test shoppers did not complete their buying process because the sites were too complicated to navigate. The same report claimed that a $1 dollar spent on advertising during a high season returns $5 dollars in total revenue while a $1 dollar spent on customer experience returns $60 dollars!
Stay away from irrelevant links
Oftentimes we will be navigating a site with way too many links that do not point to information relevant to the page you are on. This overcrowding makes the user experience annoying and painful which may result in the visitor leaving your page.
Make your navigation bar easy to understand. This is especially true if you are operating a complex site with a lot of pages and information for the customer to browse through.
Don’t let them get lost
This applies very well to larger websites with lots of categories and products or information to offer. Always “leave breadcrumbs” or in other words let the customer know where they are exactly, how they got there and how they can go back without pressing the BACK button an unlimited number of times.
Good: Shopping / seeds & seed Starting / wildflower seeds / blends
Bad: Shopping / wildflower seeds / blends
Do not let them lose their way home
No page on your site should be more than three clicks away from any other page. Always provide shortcuts so that your viewer can easily come back to the funnel process if they just decided to read a little more about the product for example. A good example of this technique is Amazon.com.
Avoid being mysterious
I have seen a lot of websites that make you confused when you see them at first and when you try to navigate. Although you may be thinking showing the visitor how creative you are is good, confusing them with your navigation bar which is also an image is not always the best way to go. Once again your primary goal should be to increase the sales and not to make a pretty website. The reasoning here is that an average customer will only wait 3 seconds before the site loads and leave if it doesn’t, so do you really think they will spend the time trying to figure out how to navigate your site? The answer is NO. If you still insist that the design is awesome and must stay, there is a way to keep both options so that you retain the curious and those with no time for discoveries (but that is in a later post).
For any large site it is a pretty standard tool to include. A simple in site search tool will not only help your users navigate easier, it will also give you the necessary insights on how to improve your business and your site navigation flow. For smaller sites, you could simply offer the help button where you could explain your business procedure.
These were the seven things that are very useful to know when analyzing whether your web design is beautiful or useful and profitable. After all, today the thing is that less is more and simple 2D design is more appealing to consumers than more complex and real design with too many details and options.