Primary Website Goal: help website visitors find the content they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Something as simple as placing your navigational menu in a common location on the site – either horizontally across the top or vertically down the side – can save your visitors significant search time.
Using obvious labels that describe what will be found on each page can help keep visitors on the appropriate page for longer periods of time.
Having too many items in your navigation bar can be overwhelming to users. Narrowing down the options to seven (or fewer) assures each page receives ample attention from visitors in their decision making process.
Does your site’s current navigation follow the above best practices?
Make sure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate by constructing intuitive navigation menus of your own.
Start From Scratch
An often overlooked yet effective way to build your navigation menu from scratch begins with the Site Map.
Demosphere suggests constructing your site’s departments in the Site Map section before creating the navigation menu on your page for two main reasons:
- Building the Site Map can give a clear description of the site’s layout in one visual and an idea of how your site will flow. Drag-and-drop to rearrange departments and subdepartments to solidify the infrastructure before adding menus.
- Creating your Site Map before setting up your navigation can facilitate the process when adding menu items. Menu items can be drawn directly from a completed Site Map rather than manually added.
Manage Design Templates
Once your Site Map has been set up, begin building your navigation menu within the Page Templates section.
After the navigation has been created in one of the templates it can be cloned in the remaining templates. You will not have to rebuild the navigation menu for each.
Select one of the templates to work with and locate the top horizontal navigation menu. If a menu already exists within the navigation bar, click the blue edit button in the righthand corner to make changes to the existing options.
If no menu exists, create a brand new menu by clicking the green Add Content button and select the Navigation Module option.
A Menu Display Preview dialog will appear, allowing you to set your menu items, publish options, and clone instances.
Build With Item Types
Menu items can be built directly in this window with three different Item Types.
Menus can be built using Links or grouping pages in SubMenus. Adding pages as links on the menu bar will redirect visitors to that page when the item is clicked. Submenus will display dropdown menus when a visitor hovers over the item.
Links appear next to a blue link symbol in the Menu Builder, while SubMenus appear next to a folder image with green dropdown arrows.
However, if you have already created your Site Map, selecting the Copy from Site Map option can cut down the time spent creating menus.
When using the Copy from Site Map item type, you are able to Select a Department from your pre-made Site Map. Selecting one of the departments will automatically add the department, as well as links and subdepartments associated with that department.
For example, copying the Travel department from the Site Map will also add the Boys and Girls subdepartments along with their corresponding links.
Copy each department from the Site Map to the navigation menu options to save time manually adding link URLs and duplicating the Site Map structure.
Once the navigation menu has been saved, menu items will appear on your page as links and dropdowns according to the specifications that have been set in your Menu Builder.
For more information on your website’s navigation and menu items contact Demosphere Support at support @ blog.demosphere.com!