It’s easy to take for granted the existence of website menus until you’re confronted with an appalling one. One or two clicks is all it takes for a user to get an overview of a site’s content and find everything they need. User frustration is common when they can’t find what they’re looking for. If you’ve ever wondered how to design a website’s navigation menu, this post is for you!
Your website’s menu is one of the most important elements
Your website’s menu is extremely important because it helps users find their way around your website. There are times when a user will be taken directly to the web page they were searching for by Google. However, most of the time, your site’s visitors will want to check out a variety of different pages. Because your menu should be visible on every page, no matter how or where your users arrive, they’ll always be able to find what they’re looking for if you design it correctly. A menu’s primary purpose is to aid in site navigation, but it can also serve as a useful tool for informing visitors about the various features available on your website. “This is what we do” can be seen as a banner on each page. Take advantage of the situation!
What factors contribute to a good site menu?
All of the most important sections of your website should be easily accessible from a well-designed site menu. It’s up to you to decide what to put in it, so that’s the final decision. Regardless of the content you choose to include, you must ensure that your menu is easy to navigate.
Don’t include too many menu options.
Overcrowding your menu with links is one of the worst things you can do. This will make it appear cluttered, and users will have to work harder to find what they are looking for. And, depending on the design of your menu, some of the links may become inaccessible if you have too many. For example, if you use a drop-down menu, users may have difficulty accessing links that appear off-screen.
Be selective, or use alternate navigation methods.
The best strategy is to limit the number of items on your menu, although this isn’t always practical on larger or more sophisticated websites. Fortunately, there are a variety of alternatives to a cluttered menu.
Create hub pages or categories and add them to your menu instead. As a result, visitors can access more particular content by navigating to the relevant category or hub.
Sub-menus, which are additional menu items that appear only when the user hovers or clicks on a specific menu section, are another alternative. However, sub-menus can be cumbersome and difficult to navigate if not used properly. When using sub-menus, utilize them sparingly.
Including a search bar in your navigation menu is a third alternative you have to consider. A user can then utilize search to locate a certain item if they are unable to find it in your menu. Whether or whether your menu is cluttered, a search bar is an excellent addition. It’s important, though, that you spend some time fine-tuning your search feature.
Don’t just make a desktop menu for your website, think mobile.
When creating your website on a desktop computer, it’s simple to overlook mobile visitors. When it refers to your website’s menu design, you don’t even want to think of doing that. On a desktop, a menu that looks and functions great may be entirely worthless on a mobile device. Now that more and more people are utilizing their mobile devices to access the internet, it’s critical to think about menu design for both desktop and mobile devices.
Make sure your website’s menu works on mobile devices before you publish it online.
It is possible to create a desktop and mobile friendly menu. You can begin by implementing a responsive menu that adjusts to the screen size of the device being used. Alternatively, you can designate a separate menu for your mobile site. Regardless of the solution you choose, make sure it works well on a variety of screen sizes.
Typical website menu options
Menus come in a variety of designs from which to choose. Examples include hamburger menus, drop-down menus, and sidebar menus. In the wild, you can also find some incredibly abstract and imaginative menus! Although these styles have a great impact on the overall impression and usability, their implementation has a significant impact.
Some of the more common choices are as follows:
Clear and Simple design
A minimalist menu design makes sense for a simple website with only a few online goals. As an illustration, since Stunt Box is the site of a design director, it does not require a complex navigation menu. “Contact,” “About,” and “Journal” are the only three menu options they have.
Some mobile-friendly websites employ a more pared-down menu design. Because it takes up so little screen real estate, the hamburger menu is a popular choice for mobile websites. There are three simple icons to help users navigate the mobile version of purchase4home.com, for example: search, shopping cart, and hamburger menu. When you click on the hamburger menu, it expands to show a list of the product categories they offer. A solution like this could do a great job on mobile devices.
Classic menus are among the most straightforward to use. These help users navigate the site by pointing them in the direction of the most important categories and sections. The most common type of classic menu is a horizontal navigation bar. In addition to the main menu items, drop-down menus similar to this one are common. WordPress.org’s desktop site features a classic menu design. ‘Support’ and ‘Get Involved’ both have a drop-down button to reveal additional options.
Using a sidebar as a menu component is another time-honored design choice. On Google Maps, you can see an example of this type of menu in action. Typically, these menus can be opened and closed using the hamburger menu button and the -button, respectively. Because the menu is hidden most of the time, this is an excellent method for providing full-screen content.
Instead of having just one column of links under each main navigation item, a mega menu has room for multiple columns. Menus like these are common on more complex and large sites because they allow for a greater number of links per page than other menu types. In theory, this means that you can be a little more lenient when it comes to the links you include. Right?
Mega menus may actually be doomed due to this ostensible advantage. Even if you can fit all of your links into the menu, overcrowding it can be a turn-off for visitors. However, a mega menu can be an excellent choice for your site if you keep the number of menu items to a reasonable number.
The desktop version of the Adobe website features a mega menu with a ton of options. A list of countries is provided in this case, so users will have no difficulty navigating the menu. In contrast, imagine if each of these links were to a different topic. Users would then have to rummage through a messy drawer to find what they’re looking for.
Different navigation types
There are other ways to get around besides using your site’s menu. The header or footer of many websites can be used to add additional links to the site’s navigation. In these areas, you’ll often find options for logging in or changing the site’s language. Since footer links can be added, infinite scrolling should be disabled if they are to be included.
Create a sitemap page that can be accessed by users as an option. This displays a list of your website’s pages in a logical order. These are becoming less and less popular, but they can still be a powerful navigational tool for your site.
Does a good menu structure help for SEO?
Yes, without a doubt! Adding items to your menu is unlikely to have a significant impact on internal linking. Menus can also help your SEO in other ways, such as by improving the user experience on your site.
It’s likely that visitors will leave your site more quickly and may never return if they can’t find what they’re looking for on your website. These are the kinds of things that Google is capable of picking up on. As a result, even if only in a roundabout way, a great menu can help your SEO.