Golden Rule #17: Have a Simple Navigation

July 03, 2018 | By Brian Daley

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Think back to the last time you visited a website that may have been visually appealing but had way too much going on. What did you do on that site? How did you interact with it? If you’re like the majority of people, you either clicked back or closed that page altogether.

There’s an issue with websites these days. Many of them are often over-designed – or too busy – which “scares” people away from trying to interact with them.

You see, with all the technological advancements we’ve seen in web design over the last several years, you are able to have basically anything you want on your website. If you can visualize it, it almost certainly can be coded into your website, and that’s not always a good thing. Having a website that leads visitors to leave the page is not the goal of any business, so why then do so many websites do just that?

Best-selling author, Seth Godin, makes a very strong point when he says “everyone who builds a website is in the business of making tools, and it turns out that we’re not very good at making tools.”

A website is often your companies best tool. Whether it’s for communication, e-commerce, or a lead generator, your website is out to serve a business goal you’ve set. Thus, a powerful website does not need to be flashy or visually striking.

Clean websites catch, and keep, the attention of your audience and makes a strong enough impression to gain repeat visits.

Clean design doesn’t necessarily mean minimalist. Instead a cleanly designed website refers to the aesthetics of the page. The cleanliness of a website is based on the idea of having simple navigation and well-organized elements on a page. If a customer can immediately identify how your website can help in solving their problem, the customer will likely be impressed enough to continue visiting your website. In order to do this, you must have a website clear of the visual clutter that distracts the visitor from the purpose of their visit.

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Usability should be an essential goal of any website, and usable navigation is something every website needs. Without usable navigation, content essentially becomes useless no matter how good. You see, it is critically important that your website directs the visitor’s attention where you want it to go. A cleanly designed website is not devoid of empty space, in fact, lots of “white” space is a basic element of clean design. It provides a soothing effect on the eyes and leads the visitor to the important content and information on your page. Your website design should easily allow access to content that is consistent across all the pages of your website.

Of course, a clean website to an e-commerce business won’t be the same for a blog that has new content posted daily. An e-commerce site has to include many visuals of the goods they are selling whereas a blog has articles and images. One could argue that clean navigation is much more important to the blog because of the nature of distractions when reading. However, clean navigation is vitally important to e-commerce as well, as vendors have people who are likely to make a purchase which means the page needs to be able to solve their problem.

Whatever the reason you have a website, you must ensure that it is fulfilling its purpose. Whether it’s sales, lead generation, or as an informative resource, your website should be clean and easily navigable.

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