6 navigation tips to improve the UX of your product/service
Making them more visible to the end user
1. Start Using Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a navigational aid that displays the user’s path from the homepage to their current location. This is especially helpful for users who land on deep pages from external sources. For example, if a user arrives on a specific product page from a search engine, breadcrumbs show the user where they are in the site’s structure.
Implementation: Place breadcrumbs near the top of the page, typically above the main content area. Each breadcrumb link should represent a level in the site hierarchy, allowing users to easily navigate back to higher-level pages.
2. Avoid Using Tiny Menus on Large Screens
On larger screens, menus should take advantage of the available space to enhance visibility and accessibility. Tiny menus or hidden menu icons can be frustrating for users who have ample screen space.
Implementation: Design responsive menus that expand or adapt based on screen size. Use clear and easily clickable menu items with sufficient spacing to prevent accidental clicks. Avoid hiding essential navigation elements.
3. Always Put Menus in Familiar Locations
Users often expect to find navigation menus in certain locations, based on common UI patterns. Placing menus where users anticipate them improves usability and reduces cognitive load.
Implementation: Follow established design conventions. For instance, place the main navigation menu at the top of the page or use a left rail menu for secondary navigation. Consistency with widely-used patterns contributes to a more intuitive user experience.
4. Make Menu Links Look Interactive
Users should easily recognize clickable elements within menus. Lack of interactive cues might lead users to overlook important navigation links.
Implementation: Use design elements such as color changes, underlines, or hover effects to signify interactive menu items. Consistent styling for clickable links helps users identify where they can navigate, reducing the risk of confusion.
5. Ensure Menus Have Enough Visual Weight
Menus should stand out visually to avoid getting lost amid competing elements on the page.
Implementation: Ensure that menus have sufficient visual contrast with the background and surrounding elements. Use appropriate fonts, colors, and spacing to give menus the necessary visual weight. Avoid overly cluttered designs that may diminish the prominence of the menu.
6. Use Link Text Colors with Sufficient Contrast
Proper contrast between link text and background is essential for legibility, especially in digital spaces.
Implementation: Adhere to accessibility guidelines by using link text colors that provide enough contrast against the background. This ensures that users can easily identify and read menu options without straining their eyes. Conduct usability testing to confirm that text is legible for all users.