Web Usability


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Navigation..how to manage?

One of the most difficult problems in website design is navigation. When you say “website design,” a lot of people immediately think of graphics, of visual design.The core design challenges for a website are around information, not visuals.

The purpose of navigation is to

  • Present the reader with the most user-friendly path through the classification so that they can find the content they want quickly

  • Ensure the reader always knows where they are on the site

  • Allow the reader to move quickly and logically through the website

  • Give the reader the proper context of the document they are reading

  • Highlight to the reader parts of the classification that the organization wants to promote

  • A variety of navigation approaches can be taken to make a website as easy to navigate through as possible. They include the following:

    Core navigation
    This is where the main body of the information is represented. An example of core navigation is found at Yahoo: “Arts and Culture, Business,” etc

    Global navigation
    Global navigation contains links to pages which must be accessible from every page on the site (Home, Contact Us, etc.). Global navigation should also be placed at the top and bottom of every page.

    Feature navigation
    Use this sort of navigation to feature some attractive content on the website. For example, you might want to feature a ‘story of the day,’a new product that has been released, etc.

    Related navigation
    This is navigation that occurs at the end of a document. It gives a selection of documents that have been classified under the same classification as that document, and/or related websites.

    Content navigation
    This is navigation that occurs within a particular document. If the document mentions another document or classification,
    for example, then a link can be made.

    Classification path navigation
    This navigation tells you exactly what part of the classification you are in and how that relates to the overall classification system. It should always begin with a Home link and end with the section you are in. (For example, Home - Products - Product XY)

    Drop-down navigation
    This is navigation delivered by a drop-down menu. It tends to be used as a space-saver, and where you want to present a section of the navigation that would be too long to present as hypertext on the page.

    Language navigation
    If a website is in a number of languages, this navigation allows the reader to choose languages.

    Geographic navigation
    Where a website is broken down by country or region, this navigation allows you to choose between them.URL navigation Universal Resource Locator (URL) is the address of a document on the Internet that consists of a communications protocol followed by a colon and two slashes (as http://).This navigation tells you where you are in the URL structure.

    Rule of Thumb:
    Start your design from the reader’s point of view. Get the people who will actually use the website involved in the design from the earliest point possible.


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