A Guide to Effective Website Navigation in 2016

The navigation menu creates the UX of your website at first instance as users turn to other areas of the website through this. A highly functional user experience begins with great navigational ease and intuitive experience. As the site owner you can have great control over the users only if you can ensure a navigation menu that guides users satisfying them while creating more scopes of business conversion and engagement.

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As a website designer your reputation depends on creating great user experience that includes mastering the intricacies of designing user optimized site navigation. With the site navigation continuing to be one of the key web design element to this day, here we are going to offer some navigation design trends and principles that would be important this year.

website-navigation-2016

Sticky Navigation

Sticky navigation instantly offers user where they want to go without scrolling down too long. It always let the user access what they need without creating a cognitive load. It empowers users instantly to access the menu and always find what they look for wit ease.

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Shaping web experience, speed and accessibility are two critical elements. By allowing quicker access to navigation menu is a great way to offer users faster and satisfactory web experience.

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Just a sticky navigation bar while scrolling down can be helpful to let users know where they are and options to go elsewhere. By offering the navigation choices continuously right in front of their eyes you take the load off them and add offer fast paced accessibility.

3D Navigation

Menu design elements that appear closer than other on-page elements is a nice way to create a 3D effect. This is applied mainly to navigation menus to create optimum visibility and to suggest actions. Just by hovering the cursor or your finger top over the menu buttons, you can see them move, shake or give an animated expression.

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Hypertext

Hypertext refers to the underlined texts or links of other pages that one can click to go to another page for additional or detailed information. Through hypertext helpful references are made on a topic or subject offering users more information and resource. In two ways hypertext is provided as useful navigation, respectively through underlining, changing the hypertext in different color compared to the body text and through small patterned boxes or shapes around the text.

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Speech Balloons

Menu items designed in the shape of speech bubbles or speech balloons is a popular navigation design trend and offers a creative approach to make the conventional rectangular menu different. When this type of menu used contextually over a large background image it creates a storytelling effect and intuitively can deliver message on the brand, product or site.

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Page Loading Speed

Speed is almost synonymous to great user experience. Around 50% of shoppers just decide to leave a site that does not load within 2 seconds or less. Such statistics show how slow page speed make business conversion rate of website suffer. Irrespective of this worrying statistic designers can really do a lot of things to ensure optimum page speed and performance for the website visitors. Besides testing the page loading speed with some reliable tools to measure page load times, designers should always avoid creating unnecessary bandwidth load by designing with heavier elements. The page loading speed is crucial now for search rankings as well and naturally it is priority consideration for designers as well.

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Web Slide Menu

Beautiful web slide menu navigation bar for both desktop and mobile website is a smart way to offer quick access while maintaining the slim, stripped down visibility. By using CSS3 Animation and Small Java Script this type of navigation creates a modern menu bar just as we see in many mobile apps and make your site look smarter.

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Web slide menu is fully responsive menu layout offers ease to include many other Bootstrap components like Bootstrap column grid system, Bootstrap fluid grid system class, custom widgets like videos, text widgets, tables, forms, Google Maps, media elements, carousel elements, etc.

Using Icons in Navigation

Expressive and elaborate visual design is embraced by countless sites as they enjoy assured bandwidth. While visually appealing icons in the menu buttons look increasingly they should follow the cognitive convention to remain familiar and consequently avoid confusion. Visual recognition of navigation steps is good as long as it does not create too much load on the page loading speed. Often such icons are suggestive of the page content and intuitively appeal to the visitors as where to go and find the content he is looking for. Using text side by side with these icons can also be a good way to provide intuitive navigation buttons.

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Using Patterns Affordance

Pattern affordance refers to the use of a conventional sign that is immediately understandable to majority of the site users. For instance, a icon of a house can easily denote the homepage of the website. Similarly, you can use word affordance by using the word ‘Home’ in the navigation menu which is very common across websites. Many designers choose to use the company logo as the homepage button, though deviating much from the commonly used menu icons can create confusion.

Magazine like Navigation Page

There are websites that instead of using standard menu links offer a complete menu page much in the fashion of ‘content’ page in magazines or books. Offering an interactive experience like browsing the pages of a book, this type of navigation can ideally be used by websites huge readable contents.

Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing iOS Development Company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.