There’s a lot involved in law firm web design. You’ve got to think about layout, color scheme, content, mobile-friendliness, and so on.
But one of the most critical, yet sometimes overlooked elements is navigation. If your visitors struggle to find what they’re looking for, it can lead to website abandonment, which can hurt your conversions. So navigation is something you need to perfect.
One particular aspect I’m going to discuss in this post is main navigation categories and best practices for optimizing them.
What Are Main Navigation Categories?
These are simply the categories located in the main header of your website. Here’s an example:
They’re visible to visitors regardless of what page they land on. Whether it’s your homepage, blog, contact section, etc., main navigation categories are designed to quickly orient them and help them find what they’re looking for.
With main navigation categories playing a simple, yet vital role in overall web design, it’s important to follow some best practices and optimize them for users. Here are some ways to do that.
Be Specific With Categories
The Baymard Institute reports, on many sites, “users have to hover the solitary navigational item — typically called “Products,”“Catalog,” or “Departments” — before even being able to see the first level of product categories (e.g. “Electronics,” “Apparel,” “Home Decor”). However, our large-scale usability testing on Homepage & Category navigation shows that not displaying product categories directly in the main site navigation causes multiple and severe navigational issues for users.”
In other words, using broad or vague categories in your main navigation creates friction. Visitors may be unsure of the best way to go about finding what they’re looking for. In turn, it takes them longer to find targeted content and can increase frustration levels — neither of which are good for user experience.
So your goal should be to make categories as specific as possible to avoid any confusion. The example above, DeMayo Law Offices, did this well.
Use a Reasonable Number of Categories
You also need to use the right number of categories on your legal site’s main navigation, which is especially important for mobile devices.
“38 percent of mobile sites have a category hierarchy that is either too deep, too shallow, or have overlaps that make it very difficult for users to grasp and navigate the site structure.”
Using only two or three categories may be insufficient and not give visitors enough information. However, using so many that they clog up your main navigation can be overwhelming. It’s all about finding the sweet spot.
I think Schwartz Law Firm, P.C. does a good job at this with their navigation.
There’s an adequate number of categories, which most people should find intuitive. However, they didn’t go overboard with an excessive number to the point that it feels cluttered.
Fine-Tuning Your Navigation
Main navigation categories are an integral part of most legal sites and often require a bit of tinkering to get just right. Implementing the best practices mentioned here should help you optimize this aspect of your website and provide a better user experience.
And this is a win-win because visitors can find what they need with greater ease, and you can maximize your conversions.