Navigation is one of the most critical elements of your law firm’s website.
In fact, a report by KoMarketing found, “After reaching a company’s website via a referral site, 50 percent of visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves.” Furthermore, they found that poor navigation is one of the top things that annoys visitors and causes them to leave a site.
So this is certainly something that you want to get right. With that being said, here are some of the more common navigation mistakes along with tips on how to fix them.
Incorporating a Non-Standard Layout
When it comes to the overall layout of your website, it’s nice to be unique and original. After all, you don’t want your legal site to look generic and like everyone else’s. But when it comes to your navigation, you can often get yourself in trouble by being “too cute.”
That’s because Internet users have become accustomed to a certain layout—mainly where the navigational elements are placed along the top of the screen for easy reference. Placing them anywhere else like on the sides or center can throw many people a curveball that isn’t going to do anyone any favors.
It’s going to make it harder for visitors to efficiently find what they need, which can create frustration. And also it’s likely to hurt your conversion rate. So when it comes to navigation, just stick with a standard layout.
Having Too Many Options
There’s a lot for visitors to take in when landing on your site. So the last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with excessive information and too many options on your navigation menu. This can have a paralyzing effect where many people will simply head elsewhere to another site that’s less confusing.
So how many is too many?
There is no definitive number, but conventional wisdom in the form of Miller’s Law suggests that it should be between five and nine elements. And that’s a pretty good number to shoot for because things can get tricky if you have more than 10 options.
Using a Drop-Down Menu
At first glance, a drop-down menu might seem like a good idea. After all, it allows you to pack in a lot of information without taking up a lot of screen real estate.
But research from Nielsen Norman Group found that most people find drop-down menus “unpleasant” and “annoying” and generally disruptive to the user experience. With just one exception being Amazon who manages to pull this off fairly well, you’re better off ditching this type of navigation because it’s only going to create unwanted friction for users.
When you look at the overarching theme of these navigation mistakes, one thing is abundantly clear. You should keep it simple. Your website’s navigation isn’t something that should overcomplicated, and it’s not the place to try out any new tricks. In fact, this is one case where sticking with a tried-and-true approach is in your best interest and should help maximize your conversion rates.