Speer, Young & Hollander

Turn Website Visitors into Smooth Navigators

Turn Website Visitors into Smooth Navigators

Brand marketers take heed — forget the fluff; ditch the debris. It’s all about easy navigation when it comes to satisfying the contemporary website visitor. In the door and on to their destination is their stated objective. Grab n’ go.

This conflicts with conventional wisdom. Many believe web guests are inveterate snoopers. Love to explore The Page. Not in the Age of SEO. Most arrivals are driven to your doorstep by search engine results. They know what they want, and expect it to be there, big and obvious. If it isn’t, they’re gone. Period.

The real problem is the current crop of website myths clouding the horizon — myths that contradict the current state of user preferences. Thus, some debunking is in order.

Scheduled first for demolishing is the more the merrier myth. Might work in a banquet hall. But on a navigation bar, it’s costly. 7 buttons should be the maximum. Nothing mystical about this numeral. It’s just part of the psychological landscape. Studies reveal that any number beyond 7 often can disrupt concentration.

The randomness myth is another navigation spoiler. According to this credo, the arrangement of web page items is irrelevant. Any order will do. Not so. Plant your priority items on the top and bottom of the page. Why there? Because dedicated, coffee break-skipping behavioral scientists have invested hours of precious research time to discover a unique phenomenon. It is known as the serial-position effect. This principal confirms that people best remember the first and last items in any series. Hence, top and bottom for those page items.

Finally, the type-of-content myth must be disposed of. Many web pages list content choice by type – video, research paper, etc. On the surface, this seems eminently logical. But this visual display runs counter to the stated purpose of SEO-driven online visitors – to get that which was searched for. Thus, a far better strategy is to display page items as links to specific information tied to user searches/keywords (e.g. hand-crafted waffles or starting your own flea circus).

If you have questions or comments about optimizing website navigation, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.