People navigate websites in various ways – plan for it

When we’re creating new design concepts for clients, one thing we frequently get asked is why there’s a button for something that’s already in the navigation? Or why there’s a section that links to a page that is already linked somewhere else.

There is a reason and a strategy for this. Not everyone uses the Internet the same way.

While it may seem like second nature to you the way you navigate around a website, someone else may be doing it completely differently. And that’s why we offer multiple ways to navigate a site. Yes, most options are in the navigation, but if you’re reading the website on a phone and have scrolled down, you may not remember what the options are. So having an extra set of buttons to guide you to the obvious next step in the process is good.

Having secondary navigation options is your way of saying, “Hey, you there, why don’t you check out this page too?” It’s a little nudge in the right direction in case the person looking on your site isn’t sure where to go next.

This is why we also recommend having a number of call-to-action buttons throughout the site too, to remind your user that there is a next step in the process and they should take it.

When it comes to contact pages, we make the same recommendation. People like to communicate in a variety of ways. Some want to email. Some want to call. And some want to fill out a form. So we typically recommend having all those options on your website. A lot of site owners says, “I don’t like forms, so I don’t want a form.” But what if your customer likes forms? Don’t you think you should give them the method to contact you that they prefer? Because truthfully, this isn’t about the site owner, it’s about the customer. At least, if you want them to hire/buy from you.

The whole goal of the website is to give the users the information they need while also convincing them that you’re the best person to provide the service and/or sell them the product that you are offering. So consider how different people use the web and make sure your website meets a variety of types of users.

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Amy Masson

Amy is co-owner of Sumy Designs, LLC. When not creating websites, she can be found writing restaurant reviews at Lafayette Eats, tweeting at @amymasson, and geeking out about all things WordPress.