How To Perfect The Look Of Your Website Navigation

October 9, 2019


Your website may be beautifully designed, but if it confuses your users, it’s unfortunately not very effective. So on top of keeping your website engaging, relatable, fast loading and beautiful, you have to make sure it’s simple to use. How do we do this? With navigation of course.

Think it sounds like a lot to think about? That’s because it is. Today we’ll be breaking down how to make your website easy to navigate, keeping people interested and more importantly, on your website.


The Navigation Bar


Typically, the navigation bar is either along the top of the website or along the left or right hand side. But which is the ‘better’ way? That all depends on your brand.

The idea of the navigation bar being at the top comes from the history of traditional monitors being wider than they are tall. However, we’ve moved on a lot since the beginning of websites. Not only do we have space to use side navigation, but it can create quite an effect!

Websites such as Arbor Restaurant use side navigation to keep their imagery big and bold with no distractions. Just by moving the nav bar to the left hand side, the website already stands out and sticks in your mind.

Make sure you keep this in mind when deciding where the nav bar should go for you. Sometimes, being a little different can be a good thing!


Footer: to be large or not to be large?


You may think a large footer would look clumsy and complicated. That it could in fact, do the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve and actually confuse and frustrate your users. But that’s not always the case.

If a user has to scan through the footer links to find a certain page than it would suggest that your website isn’t user friendly and can be massively improved. However, let me ask you this:

Where do you go to when you’re looking for a specific recipe in a cook book? Or what about when you’re looking for a certain bird in a guide? You go to the index. Where’s that? At the back.

We automatically flip to the back when we’re looking for something in particular. Even though there’s no ‘back’ as such with a website, the footer can be a last port of call for a lot of users.

Another reason to have a large footer would be for design purposes. Leigh’s Nurseries utilises the footer with a contact form in their gorgeous accent colour. This makes the all important contact form stand out and appealing.


Make it Clickable!


So you’ve decided on the placement of your navigation bar and you know how thick you want your footer to be. Unfortunately, the thought process doesn’t end there!

Everything needs to be obvious.

This may in itself sound obvious, but it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as too obvious and easy to use when it comes to web design. Even when it comes right down to the font and the links themselves.

We know that Call To Actions buttons need to look clickable, but did you know that your links do too? At first it might sound a bit much, making near enough everything on your homepage look clickable, but there are ways of making links look like this without having to turn everything into a button.

You could use contrasting colours. Contrasting colours quickly catch peoples eyes, ensuring that they are reading the links. This in turn ensures that they know what they’re looking at. This is helpful as if it’s one of the first things they see, they won’t be looking around in frustration trying to find certain pages.

If you’re going for a certain look and you don’t want to overuse colour, you can choose a contrasting colour for your rollover. A rollover is when you hover over a link and it slightly changes, a lot of the times signalling that it can be clicked.

Neuroradiology Consulting does this well by using their accent seafoam colour from the logo to let users know that the website pages can be clicked.

Overall, the purpose of your navigation is so your users can click around your website with ease. As long as our website is easy to use and understand, you can’t really go wrong! It’s your brand after all.

Here at Sitely, we specialise in pretty websites at even prettier prices! Contact us to see how we can help you and your brand!

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