- 22nd Dec, 2013
Being that you most likely have a basic idea of what you want out of your website. The next step is to put it into some sort of order. Where do we start and where do we finish? It is a simple question, but the answer takes a lot of perspective and planning.
Assuming that you know what you want to include on your website, a simple organizational chart can put the layout into some semblance of order.
The home page is generally the front door or gateway into your website. One way or another we got the customer/client to open that door and come in. Now that they have taken that first step, we cannot afford to lose them due to confusion and not knowing where to go next.
A simple, uncomplicated flow of traffic from your major categories, to your sub-categories and from there, to each of your adjacent or lower levels makes it easy for the non-technical (and that happens to be most internet surfers), to get around your website and not become confused. On top of going from one category to the next, they must be able to manoeuvrer with ease within each of those categories. You want to direct them to where, you want them to go next and not be jumping all over the place.
This type of a chart is as basic as can be. For all practical purposes, this is your road map. You are starting at Home and going to your first stop. This could be Products, Articles, Services, etc. Within each of these secondary categories, you have their own sub-categories, each of which should be relevant to its primary category. It is important to maintain the continuity that you want and not have the customer jumping all over the place.
No Excuse for Poor Planning.
A poorly planned website is one that does not permit you to navigate from one page to any other page on your site. For example, if you are on Page 4 of a site and want to go to Page 2, you should not have to go back to Page 1 in order to get to Page 2. There must be a smooth flow of traffic throughout the website.
If this is not poor planning and navigation, I do not know what is. There is no excuse for it. All it takes is a few minutes longer to properly layout your map. Regardless of the size of your website, assuming that it is more than one page of course, being able to move around your website easily is imperative. It is one of those little things that frustrate the customer and probably cause them to leave.
Think Like a Customer.
Just stop for a minute, sit back and think like a customer/client. When you are surfing through a website, consciously or unconsciously, you are thinking “how easy, hard, or confusing this website is to navigate?”
“Think Like a Customer”. Very often we become so engrossed in what we are doing that we do not sit back and look at whatever it is through another person’s eyes. A different perspective is imperative. Always get someone to give you an objective opinion and/or proof it for you. For a moment, you must stop looking at it under a microscope and give it a panoramic view. You will be amazed at how much you have either missed, left out, or should be corrected.