Designing the Perfect Navigation Bar for Your Website

Designing the Perfect Navigation Bar for Your Website

Navigation bar or menus bar is very important for websites. To create good experience for your users, you have to navigate users to what they need to find.


Here are what you need to know about designing navigation bar.


Types of Navigation Bars

Horizontal

Horizontal menus bar is the most common type. It usually at the top of the page or what is called website header. The navigation pages will be listed in a line across the top of the website.

Since it is the most used and the most common set up, it can be use in any type of websites. Shopping website like Atolla use horizontal menu bar, as well as cloud service provider like Dropbox.

navigation bar example - Dropbox
source: Dropbox

Dropdown

Dropdown navigation panel is similar to horizontal but when you click on any icon on the navigation bar, more options will appear. Dropdown menus bar popular among websites with a lot of contents or those who want to navigate the site visitors further.

Sephora sell many types of products, which is the reason why they use dropdown design on their website.

navigation bar example - Sephora
source: Sephora

Hamburger (three-line icon)

The Hamburger got its name from the three lines of the icon that represent menus panel. In this type of navigation bar, the menu icons will be hidden. the user need to click on the hamburger icon to access the menus bar.

This type of navigation bar is suitable for mobile websites or minimalist websites since it use very little space. Other websites that seek to have more space on their web page can utilize the hamburger menus bar as well.

source: Zara

Vertical Sidebar Navigation Panel

Vertical Sidebars usually are called sidebar because it is place on either left or right side of the website. The icons will be list from top toward the bottom.

This design are not as popular as horizontal design. However, we can include more items into the menus bar compare to horizontal design. The texts can be longer as well.

Vertical navigation bar design can be use on any website, but you have to make sure that the sidebar does not taking too much space and leave you with little space for the contents.

navigation bar example - grace chuang
source: Grace Ghuang

Footer

Footer navigation bar are not as common as other design. it usually is an additional navigation items for horizontal design. You can see this navigation design often in news website and academic website where they offer lots of services and contents. But others website can also use this design as well.

source: Bangkok Post


Now that you know types of navigation bar, Let’s learn about how to present your navigation bar.

Difference between Fixed and Sticky Navigation Bar

Fixed Navigation Bar

Fixed navigation bars is exactly how its named, it is fixed in one place. Fixed menus bars will not move along when the users scroll down the page. Plus side of the fixed navigation bars is that they will not distract the site readers.

However, without navigation bars in their sight, the site visitors might feel loss and do not know where to click next, this maybe result in them leaving the website too soon. And they might not be able to get to other pages in your website.

Sticky Navigation Bar

Sticky navigation bar will stick to the position on the screen. It will follow the reader when they scroll down on the website. This type of navigation is good to keep the visitors feel navigated and feel like they always have options. It makes the visitors click and visit more pages on your website. The site visitors tend to explore your website longer with stick navigation.

Still, there are some downfall of this design. It may distract the reader since it always moving. And it is harder to develope and to make it work smoothly on the website.


What Should Be on the Navigation Bar

There are 5 essential pages to include in the navigation bar.

1. Homepage

Like it is always good to be back at home, the homepage is a must for every websites. Homepage is where everything happen. It is the best page to start exploring the the website. The homepage icon is a good way to help the site visitors get back to the starting point when they feel lost.

2. About Us

Navigate your site visitors to about us page to let they learn more about your brand, what you value, and what you offer. It will help with visitors decision making. They might feel relate to your brand better after knowing about your brand more.

3. Products or Services

This page is the most important page to have on navigation bar. It takes the customers to the star of your brand, your products. Having this page on navigation bar will save customers’ time and take them directly to choose and explore your products. Increasing chance of them buying or choosing your services.

4. Contact Us

Linking this page in navigation bar guide the site visitors how to get in touch with you. It make the brand seem reliable and the customers will trust you more.

5. Blogs or News

Blogs pages give you a chance to give back to your customers and build your brans recognition. Also, yoi can use this section to inform your customers aboit your new products and other things about your brand as well.

Other pages to link in the navigation bar could be pricing, locations, and Frequently Asked Question. There are no rule of what to be listed, make it suit your brand’s needs and it should be alright. Think about what you need your customers to see and know. Make your customers explore and find contents on your website easily so they spend more time on your website.


Tips for Designing Navigation Bars

Keep the Labels Clear and Concise

The phases on the navigation labels should be descriptive enough. The phases should be able to tell the visitors what the page truly about. For example, Apart from of using “services” and “products”, you could state what your main products and services are, such as “pool cleaning” or “perfume”. Doing this will benefit both customers and your brand.

The customers will find the products they want in an instance. And it is also good for search engines, the well described labels will let the search engines know that your site is about each kinds of products.

Keep the number of menu lists at seven or under.

Having too much labels will not look good on your website and it may cause confusion for the visitors. Fewer items is good for visitors since it work well with people’s short term memory. The visitors will remember what page you have and will be able to travel from page to page with confidence not confusion.

Orders of the items matter

Order what the visitors should see first, second, and so on so that the visitors have good experience exploring your website. If you not order the items well, the content might be jumpy, the visitors might feel lost and leave your website sooner.

Make the navigation bar fit every screen sizes

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. These days, many people mainly use their phone to access websites. Having a mobile friendly version of your website is a good idea. If not, the mobile visitor might have a hard time exploring your sites and end up having a bad impression for your brand.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know all the basic and tips to design the right menu bars for your brand, keep in mind the important details and better your navigation for the customers. Don’t forget that good navigation leads to good sells.