Whales swim around the oceans of the world, occasionally breaching so they are, for a moment or two, on top of the vast expanses of water where their colleagues mingle under them. Websites aren’t all that different from these monsters of the deep.
Your website spends a lot of time in a similar vast expanse called cyberspace. Like a whale, it travels best in its respective home when it has been designed to be sleek and streamlined because neither should have any excesses if they hope to flourish in their individual environments.
Also like these giant mammals, your website needs to reach for the top of this cyber ocean and rank above the competition to be healthy and competitive.
Related Article: Real Talk: Does Your Business Need a Specialist for Web Design?
The whale owes its successful existence to millions of years of adapting and changing in the depths; your website needs to rely on a much shorter expanse of time and the human creative input called website navigation.
Website navigation is the technical term for the way you make information available on your website and the prompts you use to help visitors get from one page to another. Because the modern mobile friendly version is still the foundation of any Internet-based marketing that you’ll do, you need to be sure this part catalog/part advertisement is as evolved and thoughtfully designed as the Blue Whale’s sleek flippers that propel this largest ever animal around.
Keep It Simple
Whether you’ve got the expertise to do the job yourself or are looking to contract it out, you need to be aware a website’s navigation affects search engine rankings, traffic and conversions. Remember there are a few things to avoid and although it might be tempting to get fancy, visitors expect to see vertical navigation down the left side or horizontal navigation across the top of the page.
Even after prospects have arrived at your site, you only have seconds to capture and hold their interest. If they can’t find a navigation tab to take them from the landing page to where they want to go next quickly, they’ll swim away like a little fish avoiding becoming a whale’s hors d'oeuvres.
Related Article: Get With the Times: How to Implement Responsive Web Design
Need more convincing that web navigation is an essential part of your website and your sales? Research from Stanford states that a full 75 percent of users make snap judgments about a company’s credibility based on website design and navigation.
If you’re looking to tie some visuals in and get a better idea of well-executed website navigation and see the fin of a Blue Whale like the one we just described, you’ll get both in one place at Newport Landing Whale Watching. This is the website that welcomes the visitor with a user-friendly navigation bar at the top. You’re enticed by the slideshow of great pictures and only need to raise your eyes to see tabs on where to go next in simple user-friendly language.
Same Place on Every Page
As you might have guessed by now, good website navigation is about staying as uncomplicated as possible. That also means staying consistent good technique means appearing in the same place on every page and in the same colors type and style. Remember that if you start shuffling the navigation deck and change colors and position, the chances are your visitors will become frustrated and look for a competing website.
There’s more. You need to be obvious with the choices of names you give to each section for the same reason as the other options need to stay simple. There’s no need to call a section “resources” when “articles” will do because obvious straight forward button names tend to steer clear of confusion. Try to think about your navigation this way.
Modern Business Card
Overall, your website is a modern business card and the one that most people will go to when they need your goods and services. With a business card, one of the end goals is to put the most important information front and center where everyone will find it. It’s the same philosophy that goes into your website navigation.
Try to keep in mind while you’re designing a site or having it done for you that what people see affects how they act. In fact, according to the same web credibility research from Stanford cited earlier, a full 94 percent of visitors to any website make long lasting first impressions based on design.
That also means you shouldn’t give prospects too many choices at least when it comes to the navigation buttons on your site. You don’t want to distract your visitors from getting to the most important parts of your message by giving them a long and confusing list of options to look through. If you feel the need, breaking down top level buttons with drop down menus works. If you’ve got a lot of subsections, this is the way to go because it allows users to get the information they’re after with less maneuvering.
Finally, remember that you can make another strong parallel between whales and website navigation by checking out what’s been written on the subject of Orcas on the whale watching San Diego site previously mentioned.
Take a moment to surf through their drop down menus to see how effective they are. Then read about how Killer Whales hunt in packs and have evolved into the top notch predators of the sea. If you model your website navigation after their evolution toward efficient design, you can rest assured to find a place for your online business at the top of the online food chain.