Embracing Logic: Tips to Organize Your Website’s Navigation
A famous fictional science officer once said, “I find your lack of logic disturbing.” If you’ve ever had this thought while browsing a website, you’re not alone. Few individuals consider the effect site structure has on the user experience. And yet people who boldly go onto a physician’s site and become confused by the set up or get lost before finding what they are looking for will, understandably, take their eyes, interest, and requests for a consultation elsewhere. Creating a practical and easy-to-use navigation, although not very “sexy,” is essential to a website’s success.
Navigation refers to more than the layout of the menu bar. This term refers to the entire digital arrangement of information on a website, from text and anchor links to the sitemap and navigation bar (or dropdown menu). Building an effortlessly browsable dental or medical website requires more consideration than many people realize. And taking a haphazard—or illogical—approach can have significant consequences, for you and your site visitors.
How to Organize Your Navigation
Remember: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” as Federation Ambassador Spock would say, and most individuals prefer a hierarchical structure when it comes to page navigation. What that means is that all your content can be traced back to one primary page—your homepage. Your homepage should be designed to draw visitors in since it serves as the cornerstone of your architecture. In other words, give ‘er all you’ve got, Captain.
Flat Vs. Deep
The homepage is the beginning, and with this first link, the chain is forged. From this point on, hierarchical structures come in two main types: flat and deep. Deep site hierarchy looks like a pyramid, or perhaps a Russian doll, with several layers of pages nested under other pages. The less complex and more inviting option is known as flat, or broad, site hierarchy. In this structure, you find significantly fewer “sublevels.” Visitors can choose between a greater number of main categories with fewer nested, or “child,” pages. Here is a visual comparison of the two structures:
The reasons for choosing a flat structure are two-fold: ease of use and greater specificity. When the personality of a human is involved, exact predictions can be hazardous. Generally speaking, however, people are eager to find what they are searching for and to discover the information is focused and precise. Avoid generic content that overlaps categories as much as possible.
Internal Link Structure
Bots make excellent and efficient servants, but only if they have access to the right information. Your linking strategy not only helps patients find their way to additional resources, it also tells search engine crawlers which pages are important. Your Prime Directive should be optimizing links so bots can readily identify which are the main pages. Every parent page should have visible, clickable links to its subpages, and all subpages should link back to the corresponding main page in many instances. This serves as a virtual map and also allows search engines to distinguish between important pages versus blogs with similar subjects.
Building a sturdy website structure with sensible navigation requires patience, forethought, and an understanding of human and bot behavior. Logic can help the process, but logic is only the beginning of wisdom, not the end. This is why relying on an expert in the field is a smart move. Our experienced consultants, designers, and developers can complete a performance analysis and then make the process of organizing your website smooth, easy, and, perhaps, even fascinating.
When you’re considering an update to your practice website, remember that Rosemont Media is and always will be your friend in digital marketing.