Common elements of good navigation menus

Unless your website has only one page, there needs to a system of links in place for users to get to (or “navigate” to) the other pages. This is commonly done with a menu across the top or on the side.  Good navigation systems have the following in common: 

1) The intent is obvious.

It will be clearly recognizable (by wording, grouping, looking like buttons or links) without any action by the user.  Don’t require the user to hover over an unmarked graphic in order to discover where it leads to (or if it’s a menu choice at all).

2) Unambiguous wording

Users should have a clear idea of what they will find on the different pages based on what the buttons say. For example, an online store shouldn’t have a button that says “Shopping”, then another saying “Products” because it’s not clear which should be clicked and what the difference is.

 3) Consistency

The menu should be the same on each page. Don’t say “Contact us” on one page and then “Ask a question” on another if they go to the same place.

4) Links that work

Above all, your menu links need to actually lead to other pages and not bring up error messages or not go anywhere. 

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