Snazzy unique navigation may wow your site visitors, but if it hinders them from finding what they need, they won't be hanging around very long.
"Most sites have miserable information architectures that mirror the way the company internally thinks about the content and not the way users think about the content. Predictably, users ignore such unhelpful structure." It's been several years since design guru Jakob Nielsen wrote that assessment, and not much has changed since.
Typically, people "ignore such unhelpful structure" by leaving your site without having reached their goals, and they never come back. Want to help your customers shop and move them ever closer to converting into buyers? Then design your navigation to support the way your customers think, so your site anticipates the way your customers want to interact with it. Remember these three cardinal rules of navigation design: Keep it simple, make it intuitive, and be consistent.
Studies demonstrate that people search for and gather information in fairly predictable ways. Navigation has two basic roles to play. It orients the customer by letting him know where he is; and it directs, showing him where he can go and how he can get back to where he was before.
Let me summarize some basic truths about navigation:
Many different types of navigation schemes exist out there. Ideally, you should combine elements to create a scheme that works best for your business and your customers. The goal, obviously, is to orient and direct your customers to and through the conversion step of your persuasion process, whether that conversion is a purchase, subscription, phone call, or whatever other action you want your visitors to take. Let's talk about some of these schemes:
The right blend of schemes depends on the type of product or service you are offering and, in turn, the nature of your visitor. Keep these pointers in mind as you create the structure for successful and painless movement throughout your Web site, and you'll be on the right track:
Again, it's all about designing your information architecture around the searching patterns and psychology of your visitors -- not coming up with something that looks cool but sends your visitors clicking for the hills. When you make it easy for your visitors to find what they want to buy quickly and intuitively, more of them will convert. And that's the point, isn't it?
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
October 23, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT