Have you ever visited a website that made you feel lost in a maze? You know, the ones that have so many links, menus, buttons, and pop-ups that you can't find what you're looking for? The ones that make you want to smash your keyboard or throw your phone across the room? Well, you're not alone. Many websites suffer from poor navigation design, which can frustrate and drive users away.
In this article, Dirox will show you how good navigation can improve user experience, increase engagement, and boost conversions. And we'll also warn you about the common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid when designing navigation. So buckle up and get ready for an informative ride!
What is Mobile Navigation?
Mobile navigation is the process of developing and implementing menus, controls, and interactions that let users traverse the content and features of a digital product. It includes menus, icons, tabs, and gestures, as well as their location, visibility, and functionality.
What is User Experience?
User Experience (UX for short) is a term that encompasses all experiences that occur as a result of a user interacting with a website or web application. Contributing factors include usability, aesthetics, credibility, desirability, and accessibility, amongst others.
How Does Navigation Affect User Experience?
Although you might believe that the navigation on your website only serves to assist users in finding what they're looking for, it does much more than that. The way users navigate your website has a direct impact on their experience and, eventually, on conversion rates. Here are some ways that the user experience on your website can be improved by the navigation, along with some typical mistakes to avoid.
Your website navigation should be clear and consistent. Visitors will become annoyed and quit your website if they have to guess where to click or how to get back to where they came from. Make sure the labels on your navigation are clear and pertinent to the information on each page. Use back buttons, submenus, and breadcrumbs to make it easier for visitors to browse your website.
Your website navigation should be responsive and fast. There's nothing more frustrating than hitting a link, having to wait a long time for the page to load, or even worse, receiving an error message. Ensure that your website loads quickly, performs well, and adjusts to various screen sizes and devices. Utilize minification, compression, and caching strategies to shorten the time it takes for your pages to load. Make your website mobile-friendly and responsive by utilizing media queries, breakpoints, and flexible layouts.
You should have an enjoyable and captivating website navigation. Your guests are real people with feelings and preferences—they are not robots. You may make a good first impression and provide your visitors with an unforgettable experience with your website navigation. Make your navigation more engaging and interactive by incorporating noises, animations, colors, and icons. Make your navigation more rewarding and meaningful for your users by incorporating gamification, personalization, and storytelling strategies.
Common Types of Mobile Navigation
The tab bar is one of the most popular navigation patterns for mobile apps. It consists of a row of icons or labels at the bottom (or sometimes at the top) of the screen, each representing a main section of the app. Users can tap on a tab to switch between sections and see which tab is active by its color or highlight. The tab bar is great for apps that have a few main sections that users need to access frequently, such as social media, music, or shopping apps.
- It's easy to use and understand, as users can see all the main options at a glance.
- It's fast and convenient, as users can switch between sections with a single tap.
- It's consistent and familiar, as many popular apps use this pattern.
- It takes up screen space, which can be a problem for small devices or content-heavy apps.
- It limits the number of tabs, which can be a problem for complex apps that have more than five main sections.
- It can cause confusion or duplication, if some tabs have sub-tabs or other navigation elements within them.
The hamburger menu is another common navigation pattern for mobile apps. It consists of an icon with three horizontal lines (hence the name) at the top left (or sometimes at the top right) of the screen, which opens a side menu with a list of options when tapped. Users can tap on an option to navigate to a different sections of the app, and close the menu by tapping outside it or on the icon again. The hamburger menu is great for apps that have a lot of sections or features that users don't need to access frequently, such as settings, help, or profile.
- It saves screen space, as it hides the options until needed.
- It allows more options, as it can accommodate a long list of items without cluttering the screen.
- It supports hierarchy, as it can group related items into sub-menus or categories.
- It's less discoverable and visible, as users may not notice or remember what's behind the icon.
- It's less efficient and convenient, as users have to tap twice to access an option and may lose context when switching between sections.
- It's less consistent and familiar, as different apps may use different icons or styles for the menu.
The swipe menu is a newer navigation pattern for mobile apps. It consists of a series of screens that users can swipe horizontally to navigate between them. Each screen represents a main section of the app, and usually has a title or indicator at the top to show which screen is active. Users can also tap on the title or indicator to open a dropdown menu with all the options. The swipe menu is great for apps that have a few main sections that users need to browse through sequentially or compare, such as news, photos, or stories.
- It's intuitive and engaging, as users can use natural gestures to move around the app.
- It's fast and smooth, as users can see transitions and animations between screens.
- It's flexible and adaptable, as it can adjust to different screen sizes and orientations.
- It's less clear and visible, as users may not see all the options at once or know how many screens there are.
- It's less precise and accurate, as users may accidentally swipe too far or too little and miss their target.
- It's less compatible and accessible, as it may not work well with some devices or assistive technologies.
These are just some of the types of mobile navigation patterns that you can use for your app. Of course, there are many other factors to consider when designing your app's navigation, such as user research, usability testing, branding, and aesthetics. The key is to find the balance between functionality and delight that suits your app and your users. And remember: don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with your app's navigation! After all, it's not just about getting from point A to point B; it's also about enjoying the journey along the way!
Navigation Pitfalls to Avoid
Obscure Or Hidden Navigational Elements
Keep important navigational components like buttons and menus visible by not burying them behind confusing motions or iconography. Navigation options should be simple to find and use, and users shouldn't have to guess what they're for.
Confusion may result, for instance, from the use of an unlabeled opaque navigation icon without a clear explanation of its purpose.
Putting Too Many Options In The Navigation
Keep in mind that an overabundance of navigation options can make the interface appear cluttered and confusing to consumers. To create a concentrated, efficient experience, give priority to the most important alternatives and streamline the navigation.
An app that offers a lot of secondary navigation options and submenus, for instance, may become too much to handle and compromise the essential messaging features.
Uncertain Or No Feedback
When a user interacts with a navigation element, give them immediate visible or interactive feedback. Users can be assisted in understanding the system's response and having their actions validated by micro-interactions animations, or haptic feedback. Enhancing user feedback can be achieved, for instance, by highlighting the selected tab in a tab bar or by offering micro-interactions when users tap a link.
Inadequate Discoverability And Usability
Designing intuitive mobile navigation requires a thorough understanding of discoverability and usability. Users need to be able to access the main features of a product and navigate user interfaces. For instance, you don't want to hide the most important elements of your program in a multi-layered dropdown menu that few users would ever use.
If you've been ignoring the value of user experience and navigation design, it's time to change your perspective. You may build long-lasting customer connections and attach people to your business by meeting your users' wants and expectations.
Give Dirox a call to find out how we can reach your company objectives with UI/UX design and development services!
Started in 2003 in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, our Development Company operates on a Global Scale in Asia, Europe, and America. Dirox’s team of technology consultants, business gurus, software & apps coders, and design visionaries bring you innovative solutions on time, on budget, and on quality. We strive to bring you the best IT outsourcing & offshore services.