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Hello hungry ones, our topic for today is Navigational Menu. First things first: What is a navigational menu?

 

This.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 12.55.38

 

I think that’s clear enough, yeah? Okay, moving on.

 

There is no perfect recipe for a navigational menu as websites come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and function. However, we can be sure of one thing: it should be useful.

 

I am not going to give you a “How To” article but I’ll give you the principles behind a good design and some tools so you can create the best recipe for a navigational menu that will work for your website.

 

Label Correctly

 

Like the medicine in your cabinet, your navigational menu should be properly labeled. You only have a small number of words to work with here. Remember that each of those words has a goal to get the reader to the next page of your website. So make sure each word should be clear enough on what the reader will find on the other side of the link.

 

So does that mean that you should stick to boring, generic words?

 

Not really. Consider your content. Can you find short, descriptive words that may relate to your menu? From an SEO perspective, these words will help search engines find your website.

 

Does it makes sense?

 

As a designer, it’s quite easy to assume that your audience knows what you’re talking about, or what your symbols mean. Don’t assume. Ask.

 

Get a survey going and ask them if it’s understandable. SurveyMonkey is a great tool to get feedback. It’s free so you don’t have to worry about your budget. Ask for your readers’ email addresses as well so that you can ask them follow up questions when their feedback gets to be a springboard for more ideas.

 

If you have a small audience, don’t worry. There are other tools. Take it to Facebook and offer a poll or survey. Check out Google Forms and send it to your friends.

 

Fewer Choices – Faster Decisions

 

I’m gonna go pop psych on you now: Are you familiar with Hick’s Law? Hick-Hyman Law if you want to be more specific. No? Well, I’m gonna enlighted you.

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Hick’s law basically states that the time to make a decision increases when the number of options increase. For example: A group of shoppers were made to choose between 6 different kinds of cereal then another group of shoppers were made to choose between 30 different flavoured ice creams. Guess what, the first group was 600% more likely to buy ice cream than the other group.

 

Consider this: it only takes 15 seconds (max!) for a visitor to scan and decide whether she likes to stay in your website.  Snag that 15 second golden opportunity. Present less options so that your customer can decide faster. Don’t waste time.

 

Use Heat Mapping tools

What is a heat mapping tool? Let me show you a pic. Here:

 

heatmaps-0

 

It determines which parts of your website get a lot of traffic and clicks so you can use that data to work for you. You can design a perfect website when you know where the readers click and stay. It gives you insight on what your readers like without you asking for it. HotJar’ is one of those tools and its basic plan is free so you can give it a go NOW.

 

Final thoughts: At the end of the day, this thing works: functionality and ease of design. Make it easy for the reader to navigate and make it clear. Make it worth their time. Master that, and you’re good to go!

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