By: Samantha Seligsohn
When it comes to creating, managing and updating your company’s website navigation, it’s important to look at the big picture before jumping right in. Spend time looking at the company as a whole, determine how you want to portray your brand and figure out who the company is targeting. Make the navigation tabs intuitively relate to the website content.
Sketch out a drawing of a navigation scheme created from the site map. The site map will help as a guide when creating a list of pages that go under each tab.
When naming your navigation tabs, keep the names of the tabs to 1-2 words. Make sure the names of the tabs truly describe the pages under that tab. Clearly defined tabs help improve content organization as well.
Arrange tab labels in an order that makes sense to your users. An example of a company that has exceptional navigation is, The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. Each tab is descriptive and is in an order that makes sense to visitors.
Many websites contain the top navigation in one form or another, sometimes with the side navigation acting as the sub menu. Figure out whether your website is going to have vertical navigation tabs, horizontal navigation tabs or both. To determine which method your website is going to use, review your competitor’s websites. It might help you to make your final decision based on what your competitor’s use, what best fits their industry and the content associated with that industry.
Keep the navigation in the same place. Keeping these items in the same place will promote a more positive user experience. This makes it easier for the site visitor to find what they are seeking each time they visit the site. Think about adding supplemental areas of navigation as well. Supplemental navigation includes site maps, indexes and guides. These are external to the basic hierarchy of a website and provide another way of finding content. It could help free up space on the main page as well as provide an area for a search box.