Regardless of how aesthetically pleasing your site is, or how informative your content is, if your site isn't user friendly, all your hard web development work will be worthless. Sites that are easily navigable are bound to attract more users than those that aren't. Therefore, it is critical that you make your site easy to navigate. For more advice on how to make your site more navigable we at HostSearch offer the following tips:
I. Leave Users a Bread Trail
Although bread trails never seem to work in movies, they work quite well on the web. If you look at the top of this page you will see something like this:
Home > Web Design Tips & Tutorial > Navigation Tips
This helps users know exactly where they are at all times, and makes your site all the more navigable.
II. Multiple Navigation Paths
Internet users all approach web sites in a different manner, and therefore it is important to make sure that your site offers a variety of ways for users to get around. Although no approach is bound to be perfect for any given user, you should allow users to search for information in their own way by providing several paths to the same information. One way of achieving this objective is to place back and forward arrows on your pages. You can also place related links at the bottom or your pages to offer users another possible approach.
III. Icon/Text Links
When writing your text links, be sure to be concise and to the point. Let your users know exactly what they will get when they click on your links, and use catchy language when possible. Also, when using icons or GIFs as links, make sure to provide an alternate text link in case users are using a browser that does not support your graphics links. Keeping that in mind, graphics links should be used sparingly, as they each require an individual server request, and can cause the page to load slowly.
By making your site user-friendly, you can help ensure that your users will be able to access the information they are looking for as easily as possible, which will help to create user stickiness, one of the keys to web success.