The best sites are those that are easy to navigate
A web site should be designed like a library, where an individual can find a book of his choice by moving logically from one section to another. It should be well organized and easy to navigate. The user should not have to click more than three or four times to reach a page of his choice.
Most web designers try to achieve this goal. Some succeed, others fail. Here are a few tips that will help web designers to create sites that are easy to navigate:
1. Simple structures: Simplicity is the hallmark of any great design. Keep your structure as simple as possible. Opt for the hierarchical or tree structure. Keep a visual element on the navigation bar, which tells the person exactly where he or she is. You can also spell out the path to the current page so that the user remembers the road taken.
2. Site map: This is a very useful web tool. A user knows exactly how he can reach a page of his choice. He does not have to click at random, hoping somehow to land at the right page; instead he can proceed in a precise and scientific manner.
3. Place important pages first: You must make sure that the most important pages are not buried somewhere deep in the site. The user must reach them with one or, at the most, two clicks.
3. Use text links: Remember that all kinds of people will visit your site. Most of them will be in a hurry to move to another page or to another site. Don't confuse them with icons that only you can understand. It is quite possible that many users may not know that the icon of a pen stands for a feedback page. Use text links whenever possible, even if it upsets the designer in you.
4. Include search: The search box is another great web tool to have on your page. Make sure you place it prominently on all pages of the site.
5. Font selection: Make sure that the font you select is legible. Sites that use calligraphic fonts are doing a great disservice to their users. The user is forced to spend considerable time deciphering these fonts. The best fonts are Times Roman, Arial or Verdana. They can be read easily and are stored in the hard drives in almost all computers across the world.