As it often happens in practice, a lot of people underestimate the importance of navigation, though it plays very important role for the site. I would compare it to a gateway which leads your visitors from one section of the content to another one. Therefore, it’s got to be planned, comprehensive and easy-to-use. Here are a few tips how to build effective navigation system:
1) Don’t hide your navigation bar. It’s got to be obvious and visible. I doubt very much that web users would spend ages on a site to find the needed information if it’s not presented in a clear manner. The navigation system shouldn’t take a lot of space but it’s got to attract people’s attention. For many years web designers have placed it at the top of the site. Naturally, today it’s the most anticipated place to look for it. And frankly speaking, it’s probably the most convenient place, as no one has to scroll down the page down, left or right to find the bar.
2) The navigation bar should be placed at the same area throughout the entire website. It’s got to be designed in the same style and color scheme. Consistency is important in web design. Web users will feel more comfortable on such website.
3) The name of all sections should be appropriate and explain themselves.
4) As practice shows, the simpler your navigation bar is, the more effective it is. A lot of buttons may easily confuse your customers and get them lost. A lot of choices is not always good. Such abundance of options may distract users from the important message.
5) Reminding users where they are on a site is a good practice. Think of the way to highlight the section which a user has arrived at. If your website has got a lot of pages, it’s vital to provide your users with a link that would lead them to the homepage. Usually such link is placed at the same area where the logo is.