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Practical considerations for navigation bar usability

A navigation bar is an important component of any website. This is the area that will list the website pages, or categorize pages, for users to find the information they need quickly and easily. A navigation bar can be static, or it can move when the user scrolls, and is either displayed horizontally or vertically on the screen. It can also be hidden beneath an icon, or it can slide out from the side. But what are the key practical considerations for navigation bar usability? And how can you make sure your navigation bar is easy to use? Well, here at Pumpkin Web Design Manchester, we are Manchester’s leading web design experts. We work with companies in a range of sectors across the North West, including those in Blackburn and Chorley, to provide top quality, effective web design solutions. As a result, we have produced this guide to everything you should know about navigation bar design and usability.

What are the practical considerations for navigation bar usability?

When designing any navigation bar, you should consider:

  • the ease of use
  • the visual design
  • sub pages

Is your navigation bar easy to use?

Usability is all about how easy your website is to use. Your users should be able to find what they are looking for, in just 2 clicks. And that’s why a navigation bar can be helpful, but this needs to be designed with usability in mind. This can include:

  • Choosing the right location for the navigation bar- choose a navigation layout that will suit your audience, as well as your design scheme. Dont compromise on function just for a design trend.
  • Making the page links the right size- buttons that are too small just cant be clicked on, while those that are too big will look out of place.Make sure your navigation bar links can easily be used on any screen size or device.
  • Checking your page links work- there is nothing worse than a 404 error when browsing a website. Make sure that all of your navigation links actually take users to the right page, when clicked.

Navigation bar and visual design

While your navigation bar needs to be visually attractive, and suit the rest of your website, some visual design concerns are more practical than others. The size of the links, as discussed above is also important. But so is the readability of the text, and the colour of the navigation bar itself.

If you plan to use icons for your navigation bar labels, you will need to make sure that these are universally recognised, to make it easier for your users. These will also need to be designed with your company branding in mind.

Sub pages and categorizing

Listing sub pages as part of your navigation menu can be useful, but too many options can also be overwhelming for users. Make sure that you don’t go any deeper than one sub-level so that your users will find it easier to navigate successfully.

For more information or for professional web design support across Manchester, get in touch with the experts today, here at Pumpkin Web Design Manchester.