It’s obvious when you think about it that navigation stands for only one purpose, navigating. Having navigations on a web site that people do not understand is like having a blank road sign. Now most of us will accept that without having a hint which path to take we will not be able to know where to go. Likewise, navigations on a web site are meant to guide people about the contents and functions of each and every page. To be able to achieve this, appropriate web design solutions have to be used.
As such, conventions serve a useful purpose in web design. Remember that web design not graphic design is much more like product design. Web sites have to be used and not just looked at. Mobile phone manufacturers put numbers on the keys rather than symbols. This is easily understandable as a phone without numbers would be unusable. So, web design characteristics that are very simple to use can be mostly appreciated by many internet surfers. Also, people look for a first list of links along the top or at the left. If the navigation is not there, they will get confused. On the other hand, if there is nothing but a bunch of symbols that cannot be understood, they will probably just leave.
Moreover, on the web, underlined text indicates a link. Sometimes, using CSS web design, such links could be removed so that the page looks better. Such web design techniques are better if not used. Most people will expect to find links underlined so will not realise that they are actually links. However, one could remove the underline in places where people would expect to have links, such as the navigation. Additionally, it’s important for people to be able to know which links they have already visited. Normally, visited links differ in colour from unvisited ones and it is a good idea to stick to this web design method. Nonetheless, there are other web design techniques to represent visited links such as putting a check mark afterward using CSS.
Nowadays, web sites which contain thousands or even millions of pages are becoming more and more common. The BBC web site for example has around 20 million of pages according to Google. Therefore, it’s obviously impossible to have a navigation bar with 20 million links. So, how can you create the web design for a site that allows people to access all the pages and at the same time is easy to use? The first thing to realise is that there may not be a single correct way to design the navigation for a large site. Several web design features could be used such as drop down menus, flyout menus, expanding menus and tag based navigation. To have an idea about how such web sites operate, you could visit bbc.co.uk or cnn.com.
The navigation strategy you use depends on the web site, your target audience and the look and feel you want to achieve. Remember that your web design has to be innovative and full of features that people would find interesting to use and experience.
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