This unit’s reading assignment covered chapter 6 of Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug.
This chapter, entitled “Street signs and Breadcrumbs”, is all about designing effective website navigation. A clear navigation path is essential for any website. If a user cannot figure out how to navigate to the information they want quickly, they will leave 9 times out of 10. It is important to keep in mind that when people are on the web, they are looking for something, and their approach to finding this information will differ from person to person. Some users will always search first. Others prefer to browse and use navigation to find what they want. A lot of times I think this comes down to how specific what they are looking for is. If they are interested in browsing, they may navigate, versus a user looking for a specific model of a product.
This chapter provided an interesting bit of information: “The back button accounts for somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of all Web clicks.” This provides useful information. Just like when shopping in a store, you will first look for an item based on what category you assume it would be in; if it is not there, you go back and try something else. The same is true for searching a website. Users will try the most logical section in their mind, and then will try another if they do not find what they are looking for on the first try. However, a user’s time/attention is limited, and most users will not stick around for many guesses and checks of where to find something–and will leave instead.
It is important to not overlook the part of navigation that gives the user a sense of space–it tells them WHERE they are in the page, not just where else they can go. Without a sense of where they are, navigating the space is significantly harder. It also tells the user how to use your site, where to find signs to find other information–the same way you know where to look for the categories of foods located in a particular isle in a grocery store, or where to find the street name on a street. Navigation should be consistant on all pages, to give a sense of unity and calm, to the site.