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.”