Introduction to Website Navigation:
Website navigation is important to the success of your website visitor’s experience to your website. The website’s navigation system is like a road map to all the different areas and information contained within the website.
Using a consistent navigation scheme from page to page helps the website visitor learn your website navigation system.
The Different Types of Website Navigation
1. Hierarchical website navigation
Often referred to as Web navigation the Hierarchical navigation model goes from the general to the specific; from a homepage to main sections to subsections and databases. It is a way to tie together many areas of information into a working website structure. A visitor could easily go from the homepage to other areas of the website and back again.
The following Steps are explained in Hierarchical Navigation
Hierarchical navigation and sitemaps
A good example of hierarchical navigation is a sitemap. The links are arranged into a pattern by the webmaster and are easily accessible by the visitor. Any page on your website can be easily called up.
Sitemaps are the most common type of hierarchical navigation system
The most common type of Hierarchical navigation system is the sitemap. Each page of a website is represented by a text link, in the sitemap, which when clicked opens the page it represents. A sitemap has the advantage of giving the visitor a bird’s eye view of the entire website at a glance making it easy for them to locate the information that they seek.
Using drop-down menus for website navigation
This method of website navigation is often employed by the use of multiple drop-down menus. Each of the main website sections are displayed on a webpage as a link. Then by clicking on the links the subsections and/or databases become visible via a drop-down menu.
2. Global website navigation
Global Navigation was defined as links to a site’s top-level categories that occur on every page of the site.
The following Steps are explained in Global Navigation
Style for Global Navigation
43% Navigation Tabs (50% of these placed subnavigation in a horizontal bar under the tabs.)
39% Navigation Bar
7% Plain List
5% Pull-Down Menu
4% Navigation Buttons
Use of Pop-Up (Cascading or Fly-Away) Menus
12% of sites used pop-up (cascading) menus as part of their global navigation (example below). These submenus allow user access directly to deeper levels of a site from any page.
3. Local website navigation
Local navigation would the links with the text of your web pages, linking to other pages within the website.
“Local navigation” is a broad concept which includes everything a person can use to find the product, service of piece of knowledge he/she is looking for upon arriving at your site.
The following are the most common elements of local navigation:
Key term search box – Perhaps thanks to the influence of search engines such as Google, a key term search box is quickly becoming the first tool a user turns to upon arriving at a site (assuming that whatever they wanted was not immediately obvious upon their arrival.)
Header Links – Most sites contain a header with one or more layers of stylized links guiding the user to major sections of the website. Users generally expect to find standard links such as “Contact us,” “About Us,” “Links,” or a “Site Map” at the top of the page. It is not required, of course, but those diverging from this tradition ought to have a fail proof scheme in place for providing the same information.