These are three types of links that you may use in your website:
* Main navigation links: These represent your main pages, including main product categories, such as About and Contact. Your visitors should be able to access all main pages easily through your navigation system.
* Subnavigation links: Hierarchically, these represents child pages that you can access through a main page. These pages are subcategories of your main products or topics categories. For example, your Contact Us page may contain a map and contact information pages for each branch office. Commonly used methods are pull-down and pop-up menu. Some sites use sidebar that appears when the user click a main navigation link.
Things to consider
Other than the organization of your site, these factors could influence the type of navigation you should use for your site:
* General usability: You should have an acceptable level of general usability. The menu must be intuitively easy to use and read, which include meaningful and concisely written labels. It should behave and be positioned uniformly throughout your site.
* Target audience: The type of visitors you’re targeting can influence the simplicity or the complexity of your navigation type. For example, if you’re selling products for seniors, you should consider using simple, larger fonts in your navigation system. If your visitors are young, educated people, you could do well with more complex navigation system.
Wide or Deep?
To further assist in determining the best navigation system, you should take heart the basic principles of web navigation. Your audience should be able to easily and quickly find what they’re looking for at the fewest amount of clicks. You need to choose whether you want to go wide or deep.
* Wide: Sites with wide navigation system place all the main navigation links in a single horizontal row. If you have a small web site with four or five main pages, this could be the ideal solution. However, if you have more than fifteen main pages, by using two rows of horizontal links, you may easily confuse your visitors. Wide navigation system can also be combined by a vertical list of side navigation. However, in some cases, a large number of main pages is caused by poor judgment in content organization. You should consider whether you do need to use more than ten main pages.
* Deep: Webpages should be categorized by topics of similar interest to reduce the number of main navigation pages, which can be displayed vertically or horizontally. With deep navigation, you can help visitors to get refined information quickly. Sites with deep navigation system use drop down and pop up menus, some use menus that can fly out from the main navigation system. These are two categories of deep navigation system:
* Multitier menus: With multitier menus, your site can be as deep as it’s needed. Each tier may have more submenus and links, visitors can access any page in your site by simply moving the mouse cursor and choose a webpage link. Due to the increased complexity, you should have a better understanding on your organization to properly construct a multitier menu.