Skip to main content

Website Navigation


Website Navigation – Get it Wrong and Your Website Will Suffer

Navigation is something that should not be overlooked, but that is often what actually happens especially when an individual seeks to make their own website using rather limited knowledge. However, poor navigation is one of the leading reasons as to why an individual will simply click away from a website that they feel is just like a maze that they cannot work around.


Now, there is actually more to a website and its navigation than just that one menu at the top because it is often the case that this is no longer enough. Instead, people are constantly looking for ways to move around a website especially after they read different points that are of interest. The last thing they want is to then go all the way up to the top because we are actually rather lazy about everything.



Make Sure Your Website is Organized.


Navigation only works well when your website is organized enough for the pages to then go ahead and flow from one to the other. However, you also need to remember that your navigation menu also has to be organized and that is where drop down navigation can work well.


With this, you need to be aware of categories where individuals will know what to expect when they move the cursor over that tab. For example, if you offer various services via your website then it would make sense for the main tab to announce that this is connected to what you have to offer followed by a drop down menu which effectively lists the different services.


At this point, people will then become aware that they can go ahead and click on a sub-tab to then learn more about that particular service. This helps them to navigate to get to the information that they are searching for which would also then make it more likely that they will, once again, do the actions that you are looking for them to do.


It Has to be Concise.


People just do not want to go ahead and spend a lot of time working their way through lists of categories to get themselves started. Being concise is important because if navigation appears to be too complicated then this is something that makes them navigate away.


There is a need to not only find the information but to do so as quickly as possible. It is also the case that as we use tablets and smartphones in order to access the Internet that these devices are just not that good at dealing with complex navigation menus. They do not work too well in offering you the ability to see all of the potential paths you can follow if you have categories followed by sub-categories and then even sub-sub-categories. That is why a search facility is going to prove to be easier for websites where there are a substantial number of pages to be included.


Remembering the Serial Position Effect.


The final point that we would like to mention here is that there is something within the realm of psychology called the serial position effect. Basically, this is where it is known that individuals will pay more attention to the beginning and end rather than anything in the middle. In other words, it would be wasted to put any navigation in the middle of a page or text as it would often be missed.


That is why we tend to put our navigation at the top of the page, but here is one piece of advice for you to incorporate. Why not also consider navigation at the bottom of individual aspects of the website?


By doing so, you provide people with further opportunities to go ahead and get to the information that they are seeking and do not for one second think that this is going to be purely for those websites that are selling products. It works for every single website.


In short, you have to spend more time getting to grips with the navigation around your website and make sure that each and every website visitor is able to get to the pages that they are looking for without having to go on a treasure hunt. Forget about one single menu bar as that is outdated. Instead, check that people can easily find whatever it is that they are looking for no matter where they are on each and every page. Not only will they spend longer on your website but they are more likely to then take the action that you want them to do.


The Future of E-Commerce Websites Over the Next 12 Months

Continuing the idea of what the next 12 months is going to entail for web design and
different aspects of Internet marketing, we are going to look at the kind of future that is predicted for e-commerce websites throughout 2017. This is clearly something that will be of interest to a number of people and we are not just talking about those that are looking at taking the leap into the e-commerce world. Instead, we are also thinking about those currently in the industry and who may wish to take advantage of the changes that are coming.

1. The Use of Chat Bots.

This is something that is really starting to appear and it is predicted that the use of chat bots is going to gain real momentum over the next 12 months. Basically, this means that a bot pops up on the screen and it becomes almost like a personal shopper for the visitor.

By interacting with the bot, it means that the customer is going to be in a better position to find the things that they are looking for and overall it will be making the entire shopping experience a bit more pleasant.

2. An Increase in Live Support.

This is different to the chat bot mentioned above as we are talking about an actual customer service representative rather than a bot. However, the idea is still the same in that the visitor is able to interact with someone from the website. This means they can deal with issues, orders, a whole host of things and that is why more websites are including software such as ZenDesk to make the entire process that bit easier.

This is something that can be easily implemented into your website and it is certainly one thing that you should give some serious consideration to. It has been shown in research that the average sale does increase as a direct result of this live support so the benefits of it do really outweigh the potential costs to you especially as it increases customer satisfaction.

3. Yet Another Increase in Mobile Usage.

Even though you will clearly be aware of the fact that mobile usage is always on the increase, it is known that there will be a huge push for it in 2017 with e-commerce. It is believed that the average person now goes to their smartphone more than 150 times a day and yet it is also understood that as little as 14% of e-commerce retailers are actually taking advantage of this.

With mobile usage, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of websites that allow forms to be filled in automatically or the use of mobile money wallets. These should be incorporated into your e-commerce website as early as possible as the push is really towards helping individuals to have a better all-round experience when it comes to shopping online via their smartphones.

4. Using a Prime Like Experience.

There is no doubt that Amazon really changed the game of shopping online when they introduced their Prime package. The fact that people get faster deliver and better customer service in general has led to a huge number of people signing up each month just to get these rewards.

However, the rest of the online world has been slightly slow in catching up with this and that is one area that is going to change in the forthcoming 12 months.

Expect websites to be looking at ways to speed up delivery times and also the returns procedure to be made a lot easier. This is especially true for apparel websites where the number of returns remains predictably high due to the fact that people need to try on the clothing before they know if they like it. If people are then of the opinion that returning items is easy, then they are more likely to complete purchases in the first place.

5. The Impact of Social Selling.

You know that social media has a huge impact on marketing and advertising, but there is going to be a real push towards social selling in 2017.

This is where websites are going to really link up with the likes of their Instagram page but where people are taken from the images they post directly to the items so they can buy them. Now, you might be sitting thinking that this has already been done, but so many companies have been lagging behind and just hope that people go from a profile to their website. This is what is changing and there are several services out there that will help such as Curalate and Soldsie.

The thing that you have to remember with e-commerce is that this is something that is worth a huge amount of money. The entire time there is a need to keep trying to simplify the sales process and making life so much easier for your visitors. Anything that can improve their shopping experience really should be welcomed with open arms throughout 2017.

Using Icons to Boost the Experience for the Visitor

wf-iconsWhen it comes to the design of your website then clearly you want to make sure that each and every visitor has a positive experience from the moment that they land there. Now, there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved and we have previously looked at various important points that do indeed make a difference. However, there is one area that we have not looked at as of yet and it is something that is often overlooked. That something is the use of icons because, when used correctly, they can indeed boost the experience that your visitor has on your website.

What are Icons?

First, a little explanation as to what we mean when we say icons when connected to a website.

If you look at a site and you see the Twitter symbol or Facebook symbol, then you are looking at an icon. You know instantly what they refer to and you also know what will then happen if you click on those icons, you will be taken to the relevant social media page.

However, icons are also used in other ways and you will recognize a number of them such as a telephone icon to refer to a contact number. Alternatively, people will often have an icon to represent an email address, or an actual physical address.

In other words, icons are small symbols that represent a link to either another page or a particular interaction or action.

The Benefits of Icons.

There are a number of rather useful benefits for icons.

First, they are very efficient at what they do. They are very good at telling people what to expect by using just one single graphic rather than you spelling it out for your visitors in words. It makes the page appear less cluttered, unless you overdo the use of icons, and it becomes very easy for things to just stand out from the crowd which can always be beneficial to you.

Also, icons can allow you to move people around the page as you want them to, but that all comes down to their placement rather than anything else. As they have a tendency to stand out from the page, it means that you can effectively force the eyes of the visitor to move around the page as you see fit.

Think of it this way.

Imagine if you are trying to sell something or promote your services or products on a page. Next, you will want people to take some kind of action whether it be to buy something or to contact you. Now, if they have to search for the way in which they do this, then they will be put off and will simply feel that they cannot be bothered. However, use the appropriate icon and it has been shown that people are more likely to then take the action that you want them to.

There is only one problem.

The problem is that you need to make sure that you not only do not use them too much, but also that people are aware of what the icons are representing. This is not a problem when you are dealing with an icon for the likes of Twitter or Facebook as those signs are global, but there is more to it than that.

What we recommend is that you only use icons that are accepted and understood in a global sense. No other icons should really be used or else you are gambling on people being willing to click on something that they do not understand.

The entire idea of icons is that they are supposed to make it easier for visitors to move around your website and navigate between links or pages. If you confuse them by using symbols that they are unaware of then you are more likely to chase them away rather than helping them. Striking this balance is important and that is where spending time talking to your web designer is going to prove to be rather useful. They can guide you as to the perfect placement, the best icons to use, and show how they cut down on unnecessary wordage that just makes the entire website appear to be messy. This in itself is important due to the fact that a clean cut website is always far more effective at getting your point across.

So, as you can see, when they are used in their correct manner then icons will indeed make navigating around your website and links a whole lot easier for your visitors. Also, they can be relatively unobtrusive which is always a bonus because having them getting in the way of carrying out various interactions would only serve to drive people crazy. Striking the balance between being useful and being annoying is certainly something that you need to resolve when you sit down and talk about this matter with your web designer.

Getting to Grips with 301 and 404 Errors

In the world of web design there is always going to be a point where pages have been moved or changed and yet individuals visiting the website find themselves being pointed back to the old pages. However, thankfully there are things in place that makes those errors seem less of a problem thanks to the way in which they are able to explain to the visitor what is going on.

By doing this, it makes it less likely that the individual visiting your website is even going to be aware of something going on or, at the very least, they are not going to be too annoyed that the page they were trying to visit appears to have either been deleted or moved.

So, what are these things in place that we are talking about? Well, they might sound a bit boring and non-descriptive but they are known as 301 and 404 errors and we should perhaps explain a bit more about them.

301 Errors.

If we can start off with a little bit of more technical stuff because basically a 301 error is the Http response status code that indicates a page has been permanently moved. Now that the technical part is past we can now get on with really explaining what is going on.

This error is also a redirect in that it then sends individuals to the new page and indeed it is regarded as being the best way of redirecting individuals on websites although we need to perhaps provide an example of how this error can work.

Say your ‘About Us’ page used to be at .com/aboutus and yet it has now been redesigned or perhaps you have changed your entire website so the page that contains information about your company is actually now at .com/ourcompany. Now, the individual visiting your page could type in the first option but of course it is no longer there so a 301 error picks up on this and redirects them to the new page. It makes the changes seem less annoying and you also do not miss out on the individuals finding the page and going off elsewhere so you can understand why this is so important.

301 errors can be used on any webpage that has since been moved or altered and you should see it as something that takes you by the hand when you are lost and redirects you to where you want to be. It is essential that any website that has made changes has this implemented as it does make the website seem more professional.

404 Errors.

The other type of error that we are talking about are 404 errors and, once again, we need to start off with some technical stuff before we provide an easier to follow explanation.

From a technical point of view, a 404 is an Http standard response code for when an individual has been able to communicate with the server that the website is on but the server is unable to complete whatever it is that they have asked of it. However, in this instance you will receive a 404 error when it is something that the individual has done wrong at their end rather than something that is wrong with the website.

In most occasions, it will happen because the individual has types in the wrong URL and the server is basically telling you that the page that you are trying to reach does not exist on the server. It may have once been there but now it has been deleted and they have just not updated their bookmarks or changed the URL that they are typing in.

However, the pages that they then see that contain the 404 error can often be customized so that there are graphics and messages on there telling them what has gone wrong. Some companies make light hearted comments on there so that the individual is not frustrated at getting a 404 error and then there are attempts to get them to go elsewhere on the website.

In other words, there is a bit of an apology from the website for the error even though it is down to a mistake by the individual visiting and this 404 error is like a polite notice just informing them of something that has gone wrong.

So, as you can see both 301 and 404 errors do play an important role in keeping people aware of what is going on with websites when changes have been made or the visitor has made an error when trying to access a page. They are not just useful things to have but rather they are essential pieces of kit that are able to explain to the visitor what has gone wrong rather than them just being given a completely blank page. After all, if you just provided them with no information then why on earth would then then continue to another page of your website? The answer is that they wouldn’t so thanks to these errors that will never be a problem.

Bandwidth: Just What Exactly Is it?

When looking at Internet connections you will often come across one term that a number of people are perhaps slightly unfamiliar with. That term is ‘bandwidth’ and yet understanding it is perhaps going to be a bit easier than you imagine.

Now, if we go back in time slightly the idea of bandwidth would refer to a number of different things but, of course, we are just talking about the Internet as that is our main cause for concern. In actual fact, when it comes to choosing your Internet connection, this is something that you need to take into consideration so that you do indeed end up with the correct connection that is capable of  dealing with whatever you are going to be doing.

To be honest, we could go ahead and provide you with a rather complex explanation but there is every chance that it would only further confuse people and not actually answer the question. So, here is the simplified version.

Bandwidth refers to the actual volume of information that can be transferred within a set period of time. That period of time is per second and the higher the bandwidth number then the most information and data that can be transferred within a single second.

What this means is that if you have an Internet connection that has a low bandwidth then it is going to take considerably longer for say a video file to be transferred or downloaded than it would do if you had an Internet connection with a higher bandwidth.

Understanding its Stats.

If you are now looking at your own Internet connection and wondering what your bandwidth is then the figure you should look out for is going to be written along the lines of 60 Mbps or perhaps as 60 Mb/s. What this figure would translate into is that you have a bandwidth that allows for 60 million bits of information (megabits) to be transferred in a single second.

Now, here is another thing to take into consideration when you are looking at bandwidth. The higher the number then the higher the price so you have to understand what your budget is going to be before you go ahead and sign up to any contract. Furthermore, the amount of bandwidth that you actually need is going to depend on what you plan on doing with your Internet. If you are just going to be sending emails and not really using media then a lower bandwidth is going to suffice. However, if you are looking at streaming movies, downloading songs, playing games or anything else that requires a lot of information to be passed between connections, then a higher bandwidth is always going to be better.

Think about the bandwidth issue and compare it to a stream. A stream is small and can only allow a certain amount of water to pass through it. That is the same with lower bandwidth. However, if you have a river then the volume of water that can pass through it at the same time is considerably greater as you have increased the capacity.

The bandwidth issue is even more prevalent when you have a number of people using the same Internet connection because if you find that you are battling and things are starting and stopping due to different people going online together then that is because of the bandwidth. If this is the case, then you need to increase it so as more people can connect without running into problems.

But here is one final important point that we need to mention.

Say you have an Internet connection where the bandwidth is measured at 50 Mbps. If you are the only person using the Internet connection at that time, then you have the entire 50 Mbps to your own self. However, if another person also comes online and tries to download something else at the same time, then you no longer have all of the 50 Mbps. Instead, that measurement is going to be shared between both of you so you may then notice a difference in the speed at which you are able to download and it is going to take considerably longer.

In other words, you have to spend time thinking about your entire Internet usage in order to make sure that you have the correct amount of bandwidth for your needs. How many people are going to be connecting at any given time? How are you planning on using the Internet? Will you be downloading files or is it just for simple browsing? Understanding all of this and talking to an expert regarding bandwidth and Internet usage is going to make a difference and make sure that you do not run into problems in the near future.

Bandwidth is easier to understand than you think and yet, get it wrong, and your time on the Internet is going to be compromised.