WHAT MAKES A GREAT WEBSITE, PART III

In Part II of this series, we discussed the first two elements of a great website: Visual Design and Page Load Speed. Let’s continue.

NAVIGATION

Part of a well designed home page (the most important part of a website by a long shot) is the principle of short and engaging sections of text that will allow the visitor to easily and quickly scan the page to find what interests them, along with a way to click into the inner pages (such as a “Read More” button) to get more information.

The Navigation element – the links that are usually at the top of the page that allow you to get to the various pages – should clearly indicate what the inner pages of the site are about. They should either be obvious or should elicit curiosity (‘hmm.. I wonder what this page is about’).

A SYNOPSIS

What many people don’t realize is that a quick glance at those links should tell you almost everything the website is about. It’s actually a synopsis.

We all expect to see links like Home, About, and Contact, but if we also see links like Books, Consultation, and Speaking, we have a good idea what this person does; if we see Cookware, Cook’s Tools, and Cutlery, we know immediately what kind of online store we’re looking at.

GETTING AROUND

The other vital characteristic of navigation is that you should be able to get to any page of the website from any other page – no hitting the back button. This is too often sadly neglected due to poor planning or just laziness. It can take a lot of work to figure out how to organize the pages and the navigation of a website. Not doing so in advance can be a costly mistake.

MORE

Sometimes there is a need for more than one navigation element. With a website that covers a lot of territory, you may see a smaller horizontal navigation element at the very top with needed links that do not provide that important synopsis but nevertheless need to be easily accessed. You may also see it at the bottom of all the pages (the Footer).

These could include things like the shopping cart page or a login page. In many cases putting a link to the About, Contact, or even the Blog page in a secondary navigation element at the top makes sense because it leaves more room in the main element to describe what you, your company, your services, or your products are all about. You will almost always see links to pages like Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, Customer Service, etc., a the bottom of a page.

Although it is becoming far less frequent because of the dominance of the mobile friendly website, you may also see a vertical navigation element in a sidebar.

Next, we’ll talk about the other two elements that make a great website nowadays – Mobile-Friendliness and Effective Elements – so stay tuned or reach out to us for more at hello@21thirteen.com or 646 808 0249.