Website Navigation

One of a series of white papers by Elizabeth G. Fagan dba EGF Consulting.

Website Navigation Best Practices

  • Organize navigation choices from the user’s perspective.
  • Navigation reflects logical categories that users immediately understand.
  • Navigation clearly represents the website’s organization and overall intentions.
  • Navigation is broad rather than deep. In other words, navigation menus have many items rather than fewer items with many menu levels.
  • Navigation items are in a natural and logical order.
  • Remember: Navigation reflects the title (and HTML title tag) of the page to which it refers.
  • All language is simple, without jargon.
  • Use the same words or phrase to describe an item throughout.
  • Use shape, font size, and color as visual cues.
  • Navigation choices are redundant only when required for user productivity.
  • Strive for overall consistency. Choose a preferred style and do not mix styles.
  • Use either phases or simple one- or two-word labels. Labels are preferred.
  • Analyze two-word labels for redundancy. For example, the adjective “Computer” in the label “Computer Systems” is probably redundant; “Resources” in “Staff Resources” is not.
  • Use either nouns or verbs.
  • Use pronouns or do not use them. For example, “Our Services” or “Services.” If you use pronouns, use them consistently.
  • If you use pronouns, choose first, second, or third person. For example, do not use “Our Services” with “Your Solutions.”
  • Limit use of “My” to customizable elements. For example, “My Links.”