5 Best Practices to Improve your Navigation UX


Nov 17, 2023


10 min read

Updated on Nov 17, 2023

Building effective navigation on your website is crucial if you want your visitors to be able to find information quickly and stay longer on your website.

In fact, navigation is one of the most critical aspects of any website since it heavily contributes to user experience. If your website’s navigation is puzzling or difficult to use, everything else on your site is doomed to fail. The reason being, if people can’t find what they’re looking for conveniently, they’ll leave your site almost immediately – which in turn increases your site’s bounce rate.

Some people might say, there’s a ‘search’ on the website, which takes users directly wherever they want to. But you cannot trust the search alone. A study says, 30% of people head to the search box, while 70% of people rely on the website’s navigation. No matter if your website has the coolest features of them all, it would be of no use if the visitors are unable to find it.

Navigation is therefore a key element in any website design and should be given careful consideration to ensure visitors have a positive experience on your site. So if you want people to stick around and use your website, clear and user-friendly navigation is the key.

Here are some tips on how you can improve your navigation.

What is Navigation UX?

Navigation User Experience (UX) refers to the ease and intuitiveness with which users can interact with a website or application to find the information they seek and move between different sections or pages. It encompasses the design, structure, and functionality of a website’s navigation system, including menus, buttons, links, and search features. A positive navigation UX ensures that users can effortlessly explore and engage with your digital platform. Here, we will provide you with top navigation UX best practices

Why is it Important?

Efficient navigation UX is crucial for several reasons:

  • Enhanced User Satisfaction: A well-designed and intuitive navigation system makes it easy for users to access content, products, or services. When users can quickly find what they are looking for, they are more likely to have a positive experience, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Reduced Bounce Rates: Complex or confusing navigation can frustrate users, leading to high bounce rates as they abandon the site in search of a more user-friendly alternative. Implementing UX navigation best practices helps retain visitors and keeps them engaged with your content.
  • Improved SEO: Search engines reward websites with good navigation UX by ranking them higher in search results. When users can easily find and engage with your content, it signals to search engines that your site is valuable and relevant.
  • Higher Conversion Rates: A well-structured navigation system guides users toward desired actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. This can lead to increased conversion rates, benefiting your business.

Mistakes Committed

Several common mistakes can hinder navigation UX, including:

  • Overly Complex Menus: Excessive menu items or submenus can overwhelm users. Simplify navigation menus and use clear labels to help users quickly identify where they need to go.
  • Inconsistent Design: Inconsistencies in navigation design, such as varying menu styles or placement, can confuse users. Consistency in design elements, like button styles and fonts, is key.
  • Lack of Search Functionality: Not including a search bar can be frustrating for users who prefer searching for specific content. Make sure your website has a functional search feature that returns relevant results.
  • Unclear Calls to Action (CTAs): If CTAs are vague or not easily distinguishable, users may not know where to click to take action. Ensure that CTAs are clear, concise, and visually stand out.
  • Ignoring Mobile Users: With the prevalence of mobile devices, neglecting mobile optimization can lead to poor navigation on smaller screens. Implement responsive design to cater to mobile users.

Other Things To Consider

Here are some of the additional points that you need to consider to improve your navigation UX:

1. Use Mega Menus, Not Dropdown

Mega menus are a larger and more visually engaging version of dropdown menus. They allow for displaying multiple navigation options at once, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. Mega menus can be particularly effective for websites with a wide range of content or complex navigation structures.

2. Use Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a navigational aid that shows users their current location within a website’s hierarchy. They provide a clear path back to previous pages or sections, helping users understand where they are and how they arrived at their current location. Breadcrumbs are especially useful for websites with deep content structures.

3. Coordinate Menus With Uses Tasks

Your navigation menus should align with your users’ goals and tasks. Conduct user research to understand what actions and information your target audience seeks, and then organize your menus accordingly. A user-centered approach ensures that navigation is intuitive and meets users’ needs.

4. Use Different Navigation For Mobile And Desktop

Mobile and desktop users have different browsing behaviors and screen sizes. To provide the best user experience, consider tailoring your navigation for each platform. Implement responsive design to optimize the menu for smaller screens and prioritize mobile-friendly features like a collapsible menu or a bottom navigation bar.

5. Unique Visual Designs On Each Level

Creating unique visual designs for different levels of your navigation hierarchy can help users distinguish between primary and secondary menu items. Visual cues, such as font size, color, or icons, can provide clarity and guide users through your content. Consistency in design is crucial, but subtle variations can aid in differentiation.

By incorporating these additional considerations, you can further enhance your navigation UX, making it more user-friendly, engaging, and effective. Remember that a successful navigation system should always prioritize the user’s ease of finding information and completing tasks on your website or application.

Stick to the Conventional Designs

Initially, you should think about sticking to a more traditional UX design because most of us are already familiar with that interface. Any new additions can be confusing for users who aren’t expecting them. You can think of plenty of navigation styles, but none of them will turn out useful if your website visitors are unable to get a hang of it.

Traditional UX design has been around for a reason – the tried and tested design methods are those that have been proven to work time and time again. There’s no need to fix what isn’t broken, so UX designers stick to what they know works to create the best possible user experience.

Following are a few of the conventions that you can use to design your website UX.

– On top of the page, you can consider using the horizontal navbar.

– Use a logo that’s easily visible in the top corner of all pages, and make sure it’s linked back.to your homepage. According to a study, to visit back to the homepage, 36% of website visitors click on a company logo, so it’s important that yours is distinctive and prominently placed.

– Now coming to the bottom, it is advisable that you use an informative bottom where you have mentioned a brief about your company. You can also add links to pages of your website like about us, services, etc.

By following web conventions, you will make it easier for users to navigate your site. You can deviate from these conventions only if your chosen method is engaging enough to keep your visitors on your site.

Create a Unique Visual Design for Each Level

Layout and grouping of links are key to creating effective navigation – users should be able to understand at a glance which links are primary, secondary, or tertiary.

The visual design of the navigation should be clear and consistent, with different styles, sizes, and colors for the different levels. If there is secondary navigation, it should be easy to tell which links are parent/child or sibling, and it should match the primary navigation. This way, you avoid creating confusion in the users’ minds and at the same time make your website visually appealing.

Use CTA (Call-To-Action) often

The call to action is an important aspect of any webpage as it tells the user what the next step is. This can be in the form of a button or link that takes them to another page, or it could be a prompt to sign up for a newsletter or download a file. Whatever the case, the call to action should be clear and concise so that users know exactly what they need to do.

That being said, CTAs play a vital role in any website as it leads to better navigation. Since these call-to-action buttons guide the users throughout your website, you should start using them at the appropriate places on your website.

Instead of discovering different types of content on the websites on their own, users like to be directed to the pages through CTAs as it saves them time.

Make sure to create clickable links wherever possible. For example, if you have a drop-down menu with sub-categories, you can create clickable links so that users can easily find more information on those topics if they need it. This will help streamline their experience and it also ensures that the users can find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Smarty use White Spaces, Color Combinations, & Visuals

Be very specific while using the white spaces as it can make or break the appearance of your UX design. While spaces are the blank spaces within your website. Blank spaces are not necessarily white, they could be of any color depending on the color theme of your website. To increase the readability, it is recommended that you have adequate use of these blank spaces.

Making use of blank space in the right and left margins, as well as between paragraphs, can help make your content more easily scannable for viewers. This, in turn, makes it more convenient for them to find out about your call-to-actions (CTAs).

Let’s talk about the visuals now.

Visuals better attract users as compared to the texts. Any kind of visuals such as photos, videos, gifs, etc, can entice customers quickly if they are appealing enough. Including these visuals on your website and making them clickable with the links help drive the traffic to the specific pages as well as make your website easier to navigate for the users.

Time to play with the colors now.

Playing with colors on your website can be tricky if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Use colors wisely to avoid overwhelming or underwhelming your website’s visitors. Colors can help set the tone and atmosphere of your site, and too many colors can be overwhelming. Stick to a few key colors that complement each other and create the feeling you want for your site.

Moreover, colors can help you differentiate different content on the website. We advise picking one color that will dominate all your web pages to set a theme and make sure the color matches your brand’s logo. For blocks like the search box, you can go with lighter colors.

Make the Most out of Footer

The footer of a page is often where users will go when they’re feeling lost or frustrated. If you want to create a lasting positive impression on your audience, working on your website’s footer is a must.

Not only the footer, but even the most basic and utilitarian parts of an interface can have a significant impact on a user’s experience. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to even the smallest details of your website’s footer section. Most designers use a dark color palette while designing the footer section. So, if you want to make it stand out or give it a unique identity, go with the dark theme for the footer section.

Furthermore, the footer of your website is a great place to add important links, like an email sign-up form or payment logos. If required, you can also expand the footer section to make it more sizable. It works well for users who navigate at the bottom of the page.

The tips mentioned above should give you a good starting point if you’re looking to improve the UX of your website in a short period. Hope you found the blog-post helpful. In case you come across any complications, feel free to reach out to our team of profoundly experienced UX designers.

Why Should You Rely on us?

At Saffron Edge, we are an extensive team of marketers and web developers who can help you with all aspects of web development, from UI and UX design to coding and testing. We have the skills and experience to bring your vision to life, and we’re always happy to share our expertise with our clients.

We pride ourselves on being able to work quickly and efficiently to get the job done on time. Therefore, we work at fast turnaround times and get the job done in the most cost-effectively, so you don’t have to break the bank.

Feel free to get in touch today and let our team of experts help you better.