The Wild, Wild, Web

Website Best Practices That Help Users Successfully Navigate Your Site

Well, hello there, brave adventurers! Welcome to the feral forest of website navigation and user experience! Today, we embark on a confusing quest for that elusive website. Filled with vine-twisting, baffling corners, and perplexing pathways, this search can easily lure you into a pit of endless pop-ups, dirty drop-downs, and thorny portals. So, buckle up, put on your explorer hat, and get ready to steer through the wild terrain of the internet!

The Jumanji Curse

Picture this.

You’re deep in the heart of the untamed wilderness of website navigation, one of your fellow explorers encounters his first hurdle — trying to wiggle his way through a labyrinth of links. Fortified with unwavering determination, he sets out to detect that elusive ”contact us” button.. Instead, he falls into the mischievous trap hidden behind a series of cryptic icons that look more like an eye test chart. As a result, he ends up blindly clicking links that take him everywhere but where he wants to be, before stumbling upon the sacred “contact us” icon. Oh, the tricks that website navigation can play on you!

So, before we head out, it’s always best to prepare for that unexpected hex.

The Treacherous Tunnel

Just when you thought you’ve found a way out, you stumble upon a very tempting passageway; promising a shortcut to your desired destination. Eagerly, you venture inside, only to be met with an endless maze of links and submenus. It was like navigating a labyrinth designed by a mischievous spider. Every turn leads you deeper into the depths of disorientation until you eventually give up. In frustration, you call Mom. Don’t fret. There’s a simple solution to straighten things out; a light at the end.

Consider this best practice.

Marie Kondo Your Website: (Barely a jungle reference but you get the drift.) Arrange and design your navigation in an intuitive way. Group similar content together under the same categories or headings. This helps users understand the structure of your website and therefore, find information more easily. Consider the natural flow of information and how users would expect to navigate through your site.

The Spectacular Safari

What if, in a stroke of madness, someone thought it would be hilarious to create a website that looked like an actual safari. You find yourself in a virtual savannah, surrounded by animated lions, elephants, and zebras. While it was visually stunning, it did little to help you find the information you are looking for.. You’d end up hours trying to outrun a cheetah instead of finding the elusive “About Us” page. What a waste of time!

So, instead of designing a visually captivating website, albeit a confusing one, how about trying this best practice.

Maintain consistent navigation elements across your website: Use the same menu styles, labels, and positioning throughout the site to provide familiarity and reduce confusion. It may feel clinical but at this point, function trumps form. The more constant the entire look is, the better.

Panic Time with Pop-Ups

The deeper one gets into the jungle, the weirder it becomes. Imagine a horde of pop-up ads that keep on coming like a mad swarm of locusts of biblical proportions; determined to conquer the screen. From flashy banners to intrusive surveys, these relentless creatures make it nearly impossible to focus on the task at hand. Do you have the right Indian Jones skills to close them all down and continue on with your journey? Don’t worry, this best practice ought to do the trick.

Limit the Number of Pop-Ups: Avoid overwhelming users with too many of these. Too many in-your-face frames can be annoying. It will make it harder for users to find what they’re looking for. Instead, prioritize the important pop-ups or include them in the main navigation menu. Use submenus or dropdowns to accommodate additional content. It’s simpler and less irritating.

The Delightful Dead End

After hours of going through the treacherous landscape, you stumble upon what seems like the promised land—a beautifully designed landing page. Hypnotized by its artistic charm, only to realize that you can’t go any further. A dead end! No links or buttons. You’re trapped and defeated but determined, resorting to screaming “Let me out!” into your computer screen.

This wouldn’t have happened if the designer had done this.

Breadcrumb Navigation: Remember Hansel and Gretel? It’s as simple as that. Typically placed near the top of the page, it shows users where they are in relation to the current page. It helps visitors understand their location within the site and provides an easy way back. Brilliant right?

The Enchanted 404 Forest

When you’re on the verge of giving up, you enter a mysterious woodland filled with broken links and error messages. It’s the dreaded 404 Forest, where lost pages go to haunt unsuspecting users like you. Every step you take seems to lead to a dead end. You stumble upon pages that were supposed to contain helpful information but instead displayed cryptic messages like “Error 404: Page Not Found” or “Lorem ipsum dolor sit met.” Lost in translation? Here’s a fix.

Error Handling: Always give clear error messages when users encounter issues like a missing page or if the page is under construction. It’s also good to include visual cues to help send the message across. Broken links or invalid search queries are frustrating. Explain the problem in plain language and offer suggestions or alternative paths to help users overcome the error.

As you bravely emerge from the labyrinth of website navigation and user experience, you couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of your voyage. You learn that simplicity and usability reign supreme even in the wild and unpredictable world of the internet. So, remember, not all websites and users are created equal. It’s important to consider your specific goal when implementing these best practices. Regularly monitoring user behavior, analyzing data, and revising your design based on feedback will help you to continually improve the navigation and user experience of your website.

To learn how Twlv20 can help you design an effective and engaging website, just give us a call, send us an email, or even reach out from one of our socials.

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