Are you struggling to make your ecommerce website navigation better?
You’re not alone – navigating a website can be tricky, and a lot of site owners overlook the importance of optimizing their navigational structure.
Whether it’s getting customers quickly to what they need or helping search engines discover relevant content, improving your site’s navigation is key to success online.
To help ensure the effectiveness of your ecommerce website, we have compiled this comprehensive checklist that covers all aspects of navigation improvement so you can maximize user experience (UX) and findability in one fell swoop!
Thus, here are six checkpoints for you to keep in mind while assessing your website’s navigation and ten guidelines to optimize it.
Navigation that keeps varying from page to page when it’s not absolutely necessary will frustrate the visitors.
Thus, see to it that your navigation is consistent across all pages in how and where they are positioned.
Accurate navigation titles:
Visitors and Google have a perceived idea of what they would find on a particular page even before entering into it.
Thus, ensure that all the main navigation links of your website and the internal text links are with accurate text describing the succeeding page.
Annoying or confusing visitors and Google will impact your website traffic and bounce rate.
Distinctly categorize all sections, categories, and subcategories and define them visually.
Divide the categories clearly with category headings separated from sub-categories and more.
Be cautious not to miss any categories or repeat them.
Every clickable image or image that links to other web pages must have ALT text.
The ALT text attribute is nothing but a descriptive text that ensures Google knows what the image and link are regardless of how it’s viewed on your site.
ALT text or Alternative text conveys the “why” of the image. The screen reader software reads it aloud to users and is indexed by search engines. It also displays when the image fails to load.
Optimize your in-site search feature continually to pull out the relevant results or appropriate search results page every time a search query is entered.
It must make up for misspellings and display relevant alternate results even though the exact page isn’t available.
Also, ensure it never displays the “No results found” page.
Construct clickable links.
When you have numerous divisions or categories, always make all navigation elements into clickable links.
This is recommended even when you have drop-down menus with clickable subcategory links.
10 Guidelines to optimize navigation user experience:
1. Visibility of Menu
Never hide the menu or essential links. The main menu helps users find the links to the most critical web pages or sections.
A visible main menu is crucial to your website’s success and user satisfaction.
The menu is the first place any visitor would go to navigate. So, make sure you have a user-friendly architecture.
- Keep your menu clear & precise.
- Easy to read.
- Don’t have too many or too few options.
- Provide suitable menu labels.
3. Icons and Labels
Keep your icons and symbols simple and easy to understand. Let them be direct and clearly communicate what they represent.
4. Navigation Sequence
Construct navigational sequences that are short and with not too many clicks. Eliminate steps that aren’t mandatory and prioritize direct paths. A complex navigation sequence can complicate your website as a whole.
5. Mental Models
You can always incorporate unique and innovative ideas into your website and its navigation.
But ensure it doesn’t disrupt or force the visitors to behave in a certain way, as it may lead to the site abandonment.
Be aware of the user frustration threshold and find solutions to meet them.
6. Search Function & Filters
Search functions and filters help visitors instantly find what they are looking for. It is a highly recommended feature for websites with high-volume products and information.
7. Relevant Information
Remember, too much relevant information and too little relevant information can overwhelm or annoy visitors. So,
- Keep only the necessary information.
- Prevent visual clutter.
- Present the information crisp and brief.
8. Cognitive Strain
Moving the visitors across the content funnel is a sequential process But ensure that the process is not long, hard, or involves too much decision-making.
9. Redundancy of links
To avoid confusing the visitors with too many entry paths, provide one or two good ones. Keep those entry points self-explanatory with a clear menu. Avoid redundancy of the links.
10. Navigation Design Pattern
There are five different types of navigation systems that you can consider for your website.
- Global Navigation or site-wide navigation
- Local Navigation
- Navigation via Links
- Ad Hoc Navigation
Implement the right navigation system and design with proper tabs, accordions, mega menus, carousels, etc., so that users find and discover the information they need.
Repeated testing helps discover areas where the navigation is inferior and optimize it.
- Compare your competitor’s site or sites with good traffic with your website and check for improvement opportunities.
- Always keep an eye on your analytics. Track how visitors navigate from one page to another on your website.
- Test them with A/B or multivariate tests to implement the changes without affecting your site’s performance.
Always remember straightforward navigation smoothly moves visitors across the conversion funnel and converts them into paying customers. Whereas poorly designed navigation confuses visitors and tempts them to exit as soon as possible.