Web Design And Navigation.
As people "browse" the Web, they "land" on a page and
"navigate" on a website. To find their way around they
need a "navigation" system. Navigation is as important
for web design as for a real life drive: when you drive
on a new road you want to see clear marked destinations,
exits and parking lots. You want to know where you are
and where you go. So do your visitors. Fail to provide
a clear road map and they will go back to where they
came from. Navigation should be clear and simple. Or
better: standard. That means: don't go around renaming
buttons. Use "home" for your index; not "back to base".
Although this "back to base" is rather clear, not all
the web users are in the mood for riddles, nor do they
have the time to start learning your rules, your style,
or your symbols.
There are three major types of navigation: global, local
Web designers use global navigation for medium-sized and
small websites to categorize the main points of interest.
Hierarchical navigation refers to large websites - such as
web directories, article directories, news portals and so
on. This approach is somehow confusing for web novices:
they cannot really find their way, especially when the
navigational structure is not clear (some web designers
omit important navigational elements such as "you are here",
"back", "next page" etc.)
One important note about local navigation: it works great
when you need cross traffic. You could use embedded links
to lead your visitors to information that is somewhere else
on your website or on a different website. But if you need
to link to another website use a target="_blank" approach
that will open the link in a new window. That's how the
visitors will not lose the path back to your website.
Many times web designers use a mix of the three navigational
styles, depending on the size of a website, its categories
and the importance of these categories. As a rule all sites
have a global navigation principle: the navigation bar.
Standard placements of the navigation bar are on the top or
along the left side of the screen. Some designers place the
nav bar on the right side - but users are not really familiar
with this approach. The worse practice is promoted by flash
designers who ignore web usability standards and make the
visitors "guess" where the links are.
No matter where you want to place the nav bar, remember:
keep it simple. Take a look at the websites of big
corporations. For example Philips placed the nav bar at
the top to define the main categories and uses a java
script to help users navigate to particular points of
interest. On secondary pages Philips is using a left
navigation bar. All in one, the web designers that
created the website for Philips used all three major
types of navigation, but the design respects one radical
principle: "Sense and simplicity". That's right: Philips'
slogan applies perfectly as a fundamental rule when it
comes to web design.
Article written by Scott Lindsay.
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flash web design
flash website design