Are you creating a website or a maze?
- Author Angela Dove
- Published June 22, 2011
- Word count 527
If you are a regular surfer of the Net, you will at some time come across websites that are a maze to navigate around. You are taken in layer after layer, delving deeper and deeper into the site with no offer of links to get you back up to the surface. Or the link simply takes you back to one page and you have to repeat navigate through the same pages to get what you want.
Other sites overdo the links and place them everywhere so you keep returning to the same old pages when you thought you were being offered something new.
I have seen sites that on the face of it look really complicated to navigate around, then you work out that actually there are only four pages involved and the rest are repeat links.
What benefit do such sites do you? Absolutely none. The golden rule of creating a website is to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to get the information they want and get out again. They will not thank you for a site that they get lost in. If you have ever been in an actual maze, you'll remember that it was fun to begin with, but after a while and you still haven't found your way out, it simply gets annoying. Likewise with web pages, and the last thing you want to do is annoy your potential customers!
How to make an easy-to-navigate site
Tabs – your best friend
Make sure your main tabs are on every page. For each main page, make sure there are tabs for each sub page within that page as well as the main page tabs so visitors can easily navigate within a main page and get back to other pages quickly if they need to. Use tabs rather than drop down lists so that everything is immediately visible.
Label each page clearly and ensure the design points to the fact that this name belongs to the selected page. Think of page names as street signs. If you are lost in a town, large, prominent street signs are much harder to miss than plain small signs.
Make sure the tab for the relevant page is highlighted when the visitor is on that page. This provides a simple but extremely helpful visual sign for the visitor as to where they are in the site at any one time. Also, it helps to have the text in the tabs change colour once they been clicked so the visitor can also track easily where he or she has been.
Differentiate main tabs by colour and have the sub tabs link to the colour of the main tab for that section. Colour is the simplest to follow visual clue you can give.
Make sure the links work
It's mighty frustrating for your customer to click on FEES and be taken to COURSE DETAILS. This will create a loss of trust as it will be evident you haven't taken the trouble to check the site works. Make sure all links are linked to the correct pages and there are no broken links.
Angela's sixth form teacher once made the following prophetic statement: I can quite see Angela alone in an office all by herself, scribbling away. She formed Proof Perfect, a team of Copywriters in Singapore back in 2003.Article source: http://articlebiz.com
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