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The Value of a User-Friendly Website Menu!

     Building a great website is a process requiring attention to many details in order for the most important goals to be achieved. One of the more important features is to create an appropriate and user-friendly menu, since navigation is critical in more ways than one. Some of the biggest operative problems are caused by bad navigation according to web design experts. Anyone looking to build a website that will be as efficient as it is helpful needs to understand the total value of menus and how to build a good one.

It's Not Just Going From Page to Page

When planning a website, it is critical to realize the importance of having the right type of menu to achieve success. So a website’s navigation is essential in order for users to maneuver around a site; however, that is only one of its many functions.

Equally as important, navigation provides a way for internet spiders to find all the pages that are part of a website. They seek out the navigation and travel down the many paths that eventually lead to all of the other pages. If this fails to happen, if any page is not found, it will not be indexed or show up in search engine results listings. Even worse than some pages not being indexed is that fewer indexed pages translates to fewer chances to attract traffic – and that basically defeats any SEO efforts.

Functional, Friendly Menus

There is nothing pleasant about searching all over a website to find a page that should be much easier to find. This is a frequent cause for visitors to become frustrated and click off before finding desired information; surprisingly many websites allow this to happen by having navigation that is either more complex than it needs to be or is not laid out for easiest movement through the pages. Following are some tips about the functional areas to consider when creating a user-friendly menu.

  • Placement - The two most popular areas to place website navigation are in a bar that is at the top of the page or in a column on the left side of most pages. Both locations appeal to the way many viewers read from left to right, making the top and left side where a viewer’s eyes would normally look. These have become the most customary places for menus to be placed unless it is in a language that reads from right to left, in which case the opposite placement would be normal.

  • Number of Links - The biggest design challenge for a menu that is both user-friendly and functional is to control the number of links on the menu. Less rather than more is appropriate to navigation, so the first layer should consist of main categories and then break into as few sub-categories as possible. If there are more required links than what would fit comfortably, consider placing some in a different menu bar for highlighted links only with no actual sub-layers. Having a horizontal bar or link section at the top of the page and then a regular menu either under it or in the sidebar is a great way to resolve this issue.

  • Number of Layers – In addition to the number of links, it is also helpful to have a limited number of layers. It is recommended that any navigation have no more than three layers including the main layer on the home page. Create sub-layers that lead to pages with linked indexes of the other, lower category pages in order to prevent too many layers to reach desired information.

  • Simple Paths - By keeping the number of links and layers low, navigation paths can remain as simple as possible. Using custom names for individual pages allows web crawlers to easily move through limited navigation layers in order to quickly reach such pages.

Along with these tips, keeping a user interface simple and easy to locate is key. Avoid the use of graphics, flash, or java with visual effects to maintain simplicity and indexing ease. By using these suggestions, it is possible to create a useable web environment while positively influencing optimization – and that is valuable indeed!

Article Source:

Chris Hunter is an expert in Web Design, Search Engine Marketing, and Reputation Management. To find out more about Texas Web Design, go to the main website at:

Posted on 2013-07-24, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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