Web navigation and designing the user experience is something that comes up a lot in UX. People often think that UX is just another word for designing this aspect, and they’re actually mistaken. In fact, UX does entirely include this topic, but also much more. Since the interface is how users perceive the entirety of a service, it’s important to get this right. Web navigation and designing the user experience, if handled wrong, will render it utterly impossible to use, thus equating to failure, as well.
So, what are some things to consider when designing navigation? Well, in the case of ad-based systems, centralization is very important. Remember, those accustomed to computers will be very used to the centrality of a desktop landing space. This transfers over well to web navigation as either a dashboard or a home page that has useful information displayed. In fact, I recommend centralization with a landing hub one hundred percent of the time, no matter what. Most people seem to agree, given that’s considered the biggest standard by most designers.
However, how the navigation is represented and how lengthy information is displayed in segments is another story. There are many ways to handle this, and these many ways all work in specific scenarios, but seldom globally. For a time, drop down menu systems were a very viable way to represent compartmentalized navigation, and I actually was fond of it. I still am personally, but there’s a problem. Companies have been, unfortunately if you ask me, drawing customers away from this model in software, and so their acclimation to it is wearing off. As a result, it’s becoming, to many, an obtrusive way to go.
Still, I say hold onto this, as long as you do it simply enough, and hope that the menu system, which has served computing well for decades, will have resurgence. Now, the big elephant in the room is actually infinite scrolling, which is something that works well when implemented correctly. If the individual items being scrolled do not require navigation to and from additional pages, then you’re fine. But, allow people to bookmark their depth of scroll, for good tracking purposes.
If you’re designing a flow that requires returning back, they will lose their scroll progress and have to seek down again. This will annoy them, as any avid YouTube user will attest. Web navigation and designing the user experience is all about keeping things logical and orderly for the user, and working to not frustrate them. The biggest mistake to make is thinking the user doesn’t know when a dumb decision was made in design. Most of them will spot it, and at the very least, will take you much less seriously than you’d like.