Many aesthetically pleasing websites lose their appeal once you try to use them. That’s because poor website navigation creates frustrating obstacles for end users. And these problems are even more challenging for people with disabilities.
An off-putting user experience (UX) tests the patience of any website visitor, regardless of ability level. Simply put, people want to find the information and products they need quickly. Therefore, easy-to-navigate websites supporting assistive technology enhance UX, which can help attract and retain a more extensive user base.
Most importantly, a UX that supports digital accessibility helps your site be more inclusive of people with disabilities, a modern-day necessity for all companies. So let’s start by breaking down the essential elements of website navigation design.
Web Page Navigation Explained
How people navigate a website is primarily dictated by design and functionality. To that end, website navigation design entails producing, scrutinizing, and integrating the most straightforward and satisfying user path for all visitors.
Navigation, including website navigation bars and website navigation menus, directly impacts how people engage with your products and services. It helps them get from one point to another with the least amount of obstacles. Other website navigation examples include hyperlinks, content formatting, and intuitive product labeling that provide pertinent content to streamline UX.
Effective Website Navigation Can:
- Simplify comprehension of your site’s user path and content
- Instill confidence that your products and services satisfy customer needs
- Enhance your company’s overall credibility
Ideally, web page navigation places the users’ needs front in center. To that end, Increasing digital accessibility for people with disabilities improves UX for all end users—the tips below point you in the right direction.
10 Tips for Website Navigation & Digital Accessibility
1. Why Headings Are Preferable
Website headings delineate content into sections that end users can skim for the content they need. They also help screen-reader users who rely on them to navigate websites.
2. Predictable Look & Feel
A predictable design scheme improves end users’ page-to-page orientation. Importantly, it helps them know what to expect from website navigation elements like text formatting and hyperlinks.
3. Stick to Text
When You Can
Use actual text instead of text images as much as you can. Text images are often over-pixilated or appear fuzzy, particularly when end users magnify the zoom functionality. In addition, your alt text must be identical to the image text.
4. Font Sizes & Spacing
Proper font size and spacing increase readability. Content that’s too small or crowds the textual lines is more challenging for everyone to read.
5. Understandable Language
People shouldn’t need a thesaurus to understand your products and services. Use straightforward, concise language throughout your website content.
6. Descriptive Link Text
Ensure your hyperlinks stand out compared to all other textual content on your site. This supports assistive tech like screen readers, enabling people to browse link-by-link when navigating the website.
7. Color Contrast
Ensure textual content and background colors contrast sharply enough to optimize readability.
8. Alt Text
Alt text precisely describes images for end users who rely on screen readers.
9. Captioning & Transcripts
Much like alt text, captions are a video content text alternative. Likewise, transcripts serve the same purpose for audio-driven content (e.g., podcasts)
10. Web Breadcrumbs
This navigational tool helps end-users recall where they’ve been and where they currently are on your site.
The Broader Implications of Website Navigation
Efficient website navigation has far-reaching impacts you may have never considered. And it all starts with digital accessibility. Assistive tech tools are readily available to make websites inclusive of people with disabilities. But they also help the broader user base enjoy a better UX, which can only drive positive results for your company website. And, of course, there are legal complications you want to avoid, and integrating digital accessibility helps you conform to current WCAG requirements.
But never forget the best reason to improve website navigation through digital accessibility: all people, regardless of ability level, need and deserve an equal playing field on the web.
Learn how UserWay can help you achieve this.
UserWay’s digital accessibility solutions can significantly improve UX for everybody who visits your site. Learn how our complete framework of solutions enhances your website navigation while promoting inclusivity and mitigating legal complications.
The time to start is now. Reach out to a friendly representative or request a UserWay demo today.
What is the Main Principle of Website navigation?
The most important thing to remember is the end user is your highest priority for website navigation design. Follow the tips outlined in this blog, and you’ll be well on your way to providing the best possible UX.
How Does Digital Accessibility Relate to Website Navigation?
Supporting digital accessibility, including assistive technology tools made for people with disabilities, will naturally improve the user experience for all people. An excellent example is keyboard navigation which enables end users to navigate a website when they don’t have access to a touchpad, touchscreen, or mouse.
How Can Website Navigation Impact Online Sales?
Easy-to-navigate websites enhance UX for the broader population, which often leads to capturing and retaining more customers. In short, the easier it is to find and use your products and services, the better your bottom line will be.