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Website
Navigation Design


It's not just nav-bars.
Good navigation starts deep in the writing.

Go to the homepages of any website and count the messages: headlines, links, notices, tips, ads, images, etc. There may be over a hundred discrete messages to read and click on. Is this nuts?

Yes, it's nuts.

Visitors don't want to read, consider and choose from a hundred items, most of which they care nothing about. Visitors want only what they've come to your website for and they want a fast way to find it.

Sure there's the Search box. How many times have you searched for something and been told "No items found"? Or—worse—been shown 1000 items that aren't what you were searching for?

Yeah, me too, which is why my websites have indexes. (Now, I also use Google Search tools for my websites, because they work the way you expect them to work, and they produce the answers you're looking for.)

Navigation is of fundamental importance. It must be logical and hierarchical, but those qualities are not sufficient on their own. There must be deep structure, and this begins with Optimized Hypertext™, writing that presents information and concepts as discrete text objects.

The actual navigation scheme on the page should be as simple and straightforward as possible. Stick to conventions as much as possible:

— Navbars on top, left and/or bottom

— About Us, Contact Us and Copyright pages

— Clickable site logo in the upper left-hand corner of each page, taking you to the homepage


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Tom Brosnahan