Look at your website as an ocean cruiser. Each obstacle a user encounters on your site is a wave in the ocean. A small wave or two is to be expected, but if there are too many waves, a pleasant day out on the boat turns into a bumpy, stomach-churning ride. At the first available moment, potential clients are going to get off your site, out of your boat, and find another service provider whose site offers a wave-free ride.
Navigating Your Website Should Be Easy and Intuitive
During a recent website usability study we performed on webuildyourtrust.com, our team found that the navigation bar is crucial to the usability of a website. If there are issues with the navigation bar, users quickly become confused, unwilling and unable to continue using the site. It doesn't matter how well-built the site is or how sturdy the construction of the content. If it's hard to use, people won't use it. Your ship will stay at the dock, while your competitor sails into the sunset with your potential patients, clients, or customers on board.
Below you will find the most important lessons we learned during the case study. We hope that this list will help you take a critical look at your navigation bar and make changes that will improve the usability of your business website.
- Navigation/menu bar clarity. Users need to be able to instantly recognize the items in a navigation bar. For example, "Free Offers" is an easily recognizable item, where "Qtrly News" is not.
- Location of navigation bar in relation to logo. “Banner blindness” is the phenomenon that occurs when people scan the top of the page and then quickly move down the page to the content. If your navigation bar is above your logo, people may not see it and be lost as to where to go next.
- Overcrowded navigation. As a general rule, there should be no more than seven tabs on your navigation bar. If you have more than seven, the items in the bar will seem crowded and unimportant.
- Indication of drop-down menus. If a tab in your navigation bar contains a drop-down menu—a list of your service areas, for example—be sure to indicate it with an arrow. Also, make sure this drop-down menu isn't too long. You don't want a list of service areas that takes up the entire page—it's overwhelming.
Are Your Potential Clients Jumping Ship?
Each time users encounter a problem when using your site, it rocks their boat a little and makes them unsure of your professional skills and the authority of your website. When the boat rocks too much, they will jump ship, click the “back” button, and choose another provider who offers smooth sailing.
Concerned that your website isn't as usable as it should be? Call 888-886-0939 or request your free professional web audit. We will rate the usability and SEO performance of your site and recommend changes to help your business.