User experience, or UX, is a positive aspect of shopping most people take for granted until poorly integrated. At that point, everyone notices the look, feel, and usability. Usability refers to how well it functions and its predictability, which, in turn, integrates look and affects the feel.
The look grants credibility and trust, while the feel initiates a desire for interaction and a satisfying reaction. These matter because if a user’s experience is frustrating, their time and interaction with a site become bitter and short-lived. One of the first interactions a user will experience within a site is navigation. It doesn’t matter the content, subject, or direction of a site.
Navigation is vital, right beside layout and function. A site’s navigation is the doorway to all things within the site. Without it, there’s little to say. Let us help you improve UX through site navigation with these tips:
1. Clean and intuitive, but not intrusive
Navigation presents an obnoxious experience for users if they have to guess a product’s location. The longer they have to look for something, the less likely they will stay — thus, the less likely they will buy. Improved UX navigation should provide intuitive categories with clean aesthetics and functionality.
2. Responsive navigation
A large part of the user experience is viewing content on multiple devices without a break in visuals or functionality. While it’s not necessary to use the hamburger menu — the three-lined icon — it is necessary to create navigation responsive to screen sizes.
The navigation location needs an obvious nature for smaller screens without fighting through glitches or unexpected scrolling. After all, bounce rates increase when users spend too much time trying to locate the navigation.
3. Intuitive links
Intuition is a huge part of user experience, especially when it comes to navigation.
Categorizing links and their respective sub-level links should show a logical process. Users, prospective consumers, want to know their visit to a site will be as quick as they prefer with as little hindrance as possible. The more logic applied to links and their categories, the happier users become.
4. Search toggle
Even with the most streamlined eCommerce websites, space becomes limited. However, a user may not always be interested in searching through navigation links or may have something more specific in mind than links can offer.
A search option allows users to search based on specific criteria — all the better when the search option appears within the navigation.
However, space matters. Setting the search option to appear as an icon that extends into a text box when selected allows for space, aesthetics, and functionality.
5. Cues and clues
Ideograms are excellent ways to convey, to the user, a link’s intent, which is why icons are prominent across the internet.
However, humans are creatures of habit and quickly recognize some icons as standard; others will cause hesitation or confusion. Using an icon of a dark hat with sunglasses and question marks reflected in lenses is a poor choice for a search icon. First, a question mark typically affiliates with FAQs or help pages. Second, users associate a dark hat and sunglasses with covert operations or Chrome’s privacy windows.
Use icons and widely recognized standards to help your users understand what they’re viewing without a hassle or confusion.
6. Avoid hover content
Users aren’t always on home-based or laptop computers any longer. Mobile devices are no longer increasing in popularity but are the popular device choice.
The mouse isn’t the only input device. Drop-down navigation content and categories should consider this, implementing click and tap functionality. User experience will become frustrating when they tap top-level navigation only to find they can’t access sub-level links. Users that can’t navigate won’t stay to buy.
7. Fixed navigation
An eCommerce site often contains a long vertical scroll for product pages. Fixed navigation, or navigation that sticks to a certain location on the page, provides a more obvious sightline. Fixed navigation should never block or obstruct content but should maintain visibility throughout the scroll while leaving room for viewable content near the end of the page.
This allows users constant access to the navigation without the effort of scrolling to the top of the page. It’s a minor effort, yes, but a highly appreciated gesture.
Always offer a navigation option for personalization. Employ browser cookies to set home stores, zip code preferences, and other non-sensitive information if a user visits. Once signed in, users can personalize their experience further via their profile and settings, but visiting preferences are a winning aspect of the user experience.
After all, if they browse frequently, they become more likely to buy when not interrupted with minimal details, and they’re happier for the streamlined effect.
Need further assistance to improve UX? Contact our experts to know exactly what your online business site needs.