“I’m Lost”

This is exactly what you never want a visitor to your website to say. Here are 5 important features to include in your website design to ensure people can find their way around quickly and easily:
Dog frustrated with navigating website

  1. Navigation buttons –

    Your website is going to have many different sections. Depending on what kind of site you have, these can include a home page, product pages, an “About Us” page, a contact page, a shopping cart (if you’ve got an e-commerce site), and many others. Here are some quick tips on using navigation buttons:

    • Have a navigation button for each area or category of your website.
    • Make them easy to see – no weird colors, no flashy fonts.
    • Be consistent! Put them on every page and keep them in the same place and in the same order.
    • Put them on the top or on the left side of every page. This is where the eye will look for them first. You can provide the same links on the bottom of each page as well, but if that’s the only place they are, users will have to wait for the whole page to load, and then scroll down, to get to them. There’s a good chance they’ll bail on your site by then.
    • Too many buttons can be confusing too. If you’ve got more than eight or ten, think about creating pull down menus from the primary navigation buttons, or secondary navigation buttons on the appropriate category pages.
  2. A search box –

    Particularly for e-commerce sites, users are rarely browsing. They know what they want and they want to find it fast. If they can’t, they’re gone. Make it easy for them with a prominent search box that appears in the same place on every page. And make sure that it works quickly and effectively – a failed search almost ensures you’ve lost that potential client.

  3. No pop-ups. Ever. Anywhere. For any reason. Ever.

    These will immediately reduce your credibility. Not good. Plus, your users want to find what they need in 3 clicks or less. You don’t want them wasting one closing a pop-up.

  4. Colors –

    Keep your backgrounds light and your text dark. White backgrounds with black text are generally best. It might seem boring to you, but the key is being easy to read. Light tans make a good background too. Stay away from bright colors. If you must have, say, a red background, use a deep, rich tone.

  5. Keep it simple and intuitive –

    Don’t try to have the coolest, most modern, graphics-intensive navigation. It might look great, but if users have to spend time figuring out your website’s navigation…well, they won’t. They’ll just leave.

None of this means your website design can’t be creative or echo your business’ unique personality. But functionality comes first. No one’s going to wander aimlessly around your website, hoping they stumble upon something useful or neat. It’s just too easy to go somewhere else.

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