If you have just added some navigational tools on your website and are satisfied, let me remind you that there is no perimeter to how great your navigation can be. Each time you plan to put in some more navigating tools, make sure that you maintain that “space” in your mind which tells “there’s a lot to be done”.
What is website navigation? How is it a useful aspect?
Take a close look at this situation:
You are wandering an unknown jungle and you come across a river. What do you do? Either you return back or you check out the possibilities of some alternative paths on the map. Same is with website navigation. It doesn’t seem important unless you come to know that you are stuck. Hence, website navigation is used as a roadmap whose sole motive is to successfully transport a person to the end destination i.e., checkouts.
Website’s navigation has a far greater impact on bounce or conversion rates. It plays a vital role in managing the site’s traffic indirectly and enhances the search engine rankings with layered navigation. One thing for which you have to constantly challenge yourself is “you shouldn’t let your users believe that they have to make their own path, but you have to make them walk on your path”. Leaving things to them would mean that you are over-demanding their time, inviting inescapable failures.
Take a closer look at do’s and don’ts of website navigation which would compel your customers to visit your store, once again:
I will first cover the don’t s of the website navigation because that’s where the root problem in optimization originates.
DON’Ts of Website Navigation
Don’t Use Non-Standard And Obsolete Styles
A lot of eCommerce websites are not serious about using the navigation bar properly. They either place it in the middle of the website or somewhere down the website where users have to mouse scroll for incalculable times. If you plan to use the navigation bar, see to it that you are placing it on the right coordinates. Keep the horizontal bar on the header and across the top or you can introduce the vertical bar across the height of the page on the left side of the screen. Make certain that you are not using the obsolete method of navigation.
Don’t Use Confusing Labels
It is good to be a wordsmith when you are dealing with artists. But using uncommon fancy terms as your navigation labels in your website could confuse customers terribly. It would be too ironical when your navigating labels (what’s meant to guide), confuse users. Don’t use unfamiliar terms, instead try generic terms to convey the exactness of your content.
Don’t Insert too Many Commodities on your Navigation Bar
Adding many hyperlinked items on each drop-down navigation would devastatingly reduce the scanning abilities of the visitors. They would come, click, skim, leap, and leave. Don’t give them 100s of menu items. Give them a limited number of items and make their product searching and decision making abilities much easier. Remove extra menu items, make the remaining items more prominent. You can also add “view more” link to each drop-down menu.
Don’t Arrange the Products in the Wrong Order
Sales analytics help us to determine the preference and likability of the products. Keeping unimportant products right on the top would only chew customer’s time. Don’t put these products in a chaotic manner. Put more catchy items at the beginning of the navigation and unimportant ones in the middle.
DO’s Of Website Navigation
Use Search Box For Navigation
Whether you have a previous online experience or not, you land on the homepage and the first thing you do is search the search bar. Good navigation will always start with a visible search bar. How is it good for navigation? It is good for those websites which have a myriad of products. You can add images to the search result menu to make navigation easier for the users.
Use Banners for Navigation
Banner is something which navigates users to another page without making them enter a single input string in the search bar. You can cover the white spaces of your store with the banners suggesting the latest products and branded companies. Put relevant information behind the banner. Ask the users to click them and unveil the special discounts. One obvious advantage of the banner over search bar is that it can be decorated with attractive art, making it a good click bait.
Use Different Kinds of Navigation Extensions
Adjusting and optimizing a navigation bar is as important as optimizing a search bar. For someone who is unsure about the categories and classifications of the products, navigation bar works as a perfect crutch of guidance. Most eCommerce owners add drop-down menus, categorically to simplify the product search. But a lot of menu items can be really annoying. Using nested or multi-level drop-down can improve the navigation on a website. Here is the list of smart extensions which may ease the process of navigation tremendously:
1. AJAX Layered Navigation: It offers an enhanced user experience to the customers with layered navigation custom attributes filters rights. It places the customers in a comforting position where they can navigate through the store catalog. Layered navigation uses Ajax calls to replenish content on the page. It renders customers to take advantage of extra built-in features like filters for the product category, color, price range, brand, trending or any other available property. Some additional features such as color swatches, size trial and selectors, price slider, review rating, and checkboxes add stars to its forte. While we know that these features make navigation much easier for the customers, they also mark great standards for your stores.
2. Navigation Card: Drop down menu is becoming a thing of the past. You can use navigation cards on the landing page of your store. It is slightly different from banners. You can set categorical cards with attractive images. This could ease out the overall navigation process for the customers.
Use Brand Logos for Better Navigation
Do we go to the traditional stores and purchase things by their attributes? NO. We call out the brand name and that’s what is presented to us. Similarly, we can make an effective use of brand power for customers’ navigation. Brand logos are easy to catch. Fitting branded logos in an organized form could set the users in sinecure positions and their navigation would require little efforts.
Enhance Navigation By Using Agile Sliders
Need a quick navigation? Image slideshow serves your requirements. It is natural that images are a better argument than texts to grab the visitor’s attention. With m-commerce into the picture, a user would love to swipe through slideshows and click the one which they love. Slider extensions warrant the purpose of fantastic navigation.
Use Feedbacks and Ratings as Navigational Tools
A lot of store owners fear reviews and ratings, but only a few manage to create a garden of the thrown vases. Yes, you can create a garden of navigation with the help of ratings and reviews. Let users filter and navigate to the other pages by setting the “ratings” as a primary attribute. Make rating data as a navigational aid, and give them an opportunity to drill down the products one step lower.
The Final Call
As I mentioned earlier, there is no limit to simplifying the navigation for your customers. The foremost thing which you should focus on is to cut down the efforts of customers on your website. Leaving too much to them would only generate a repulsive force. Put yourself in their shoes and check if you are satisfied as a customer, or hire an honest team which would tread through your store and reviews each module of it.