Every designer, marketer, or web developer is tasked with developing a unique identity for every client’s website. The goal, of course, is to stand out from the rest and overtake your competitors. Standing out and a unique sense of design always manages to do that job for you, right?
Audiences appreciate a tastefully designed website, but too much design that births complicated functions hurts your conversion capabilities.
So, what’s the big issue? It’s simple: navigability.
Know that 67% of mobile users will leave a website if they find navigation frustrating. And according to a usability report back in 2015, respondents to the survey they conducted confirmed that the navigation menu is used frequently to acquaint themselves with a new website.
Based off of those facts alone, it’s quite evident that the message rings true. Your site’s navigation is something you can’t afford to butcher or make hapless mistakes on — and even more so for mobile.
It’s no surprise that a majority of the world’s internet users are using their mobile phones to communicate and perform transactions over the internet.
The priority in 2019 and beyond is clear: user experience.
And having poor navigation is your site’s gradual downfall. So how do you go about designing a menu that encourages conversions on mobile devices?
How to Design a Navigable Mobile Menu
We live in a mobile-first world. Even Google was perceptive enough to jump into the trend and alert everybody years ago to prepare for such an event. Nowadays, Google ranks websites based off of mobile content, relevance, and UX.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but excellent navigation on mobile makes it easy for people to locate what they need without having to spend an unnecessary amount of time just trying to find it.
An easier time navigating means seamless product or service searching. And the latter eventually births conversions from both new customers and returning ones.
1 Design for touch — not click
Your mouse is a dandy tool for getting in between the nooks and crannies, able to select even the tiniest of dots on a computer screen. But remember that tablets and smartphones don’t have that luxury — unless you pinch and zoom, of course. But who even wants to do that?
Mobile device users rely heavily on touchscreen technology to navigate a website on their device. Remember that most users usually won’t hit a touchscreen on the exact point where they were aiming.
For this reason, Google strongly recommends constructing mobile pages with minimum touch target sizes of 48 pixels and correctly set viewports. Also, touch targets must be spaced at about 32 pixels apart — vertically and horizontally.
As much as possible, avoid causing your users frustration.
On this note, it’s wise to include touch feedback as well to ensure people that they’ve tapped the right mark. Feedback can come in color changes, blinking colors, font changes, or other visual clues.
It’s subtle, but it’s those micro-interactions that make a difference in the overall experience.
Also, avoid hover functions as well. They work well in desktop, but they’re not that conducive on mobile. Make sure that your dropdowns can be activated by touch or tapping.
2 Search is an integral part of navigation
Do you remember the last time you visited a website in search of a particular product or an article?
And when you visited that website, you quickly find out that not only do they lack product catalogues, but they don’t have a search bar as well.
I find it disappointing when a website neglects the function of a search bar — especially because it’s so important. And for mobile users, search boxes are the best and the most direct method of tracking what your user needs.
3 List down the important pages first
People are famous for having short attention spans nowadays. And on top of that, life is urgent, and your site users don’t have a lot of time or patience to spend just trying to find what they need. You need to help your users find what they need faster.
Aside from the search bar, another thing you can do is present the most important pages first — derived from data and the knowledge of your primary services.
⦁ Your site visitors’ common actions using smartphones.
⦁ Top category pages you’ve determined in your siloing strategy.
⦁ Which pages satisfy a mobile user’s needs.
⦁ Your most important pages.
The answers to these thoughts will help you decide which items would go into your main menu, but also which links and CTAs should be included in a page.
4 Choose font styles wisely
Image Credit: Chicks Who Code
We’re after providing awesome UX for your site visitors. When it comes to fonts, spare your users the agony of having to zoom in to read text on their mobile screens. And that includes text in navigation.
Each letter on your mobile site must be large enough to cater to a variety of devices without the need to zoom. Prioritize this as you build your mobile-friendly CSS to control the appearance of the texts across mobile devices.
Avoid choosing fonts that are too narrow. Select one that naturally is spacious enough to determine between letters and is tall enough to be clearly readable in a menu. But don’t forget to align your font style to your brand either.
5 Design for multiple screens for mobile users
Image Credit: XMS Systems
Throughout their journey, there’s a good chance that your visitors will be pouring in from multiple devices over a short period. And to help them feel at ease, it’s prudent to give your desktop and mobile sites a constant visual theme.
It’s true that fonts, themes, and colors used for desktop and mobile navigation should be consistent to reinforce brand identity. Mobile navigation must help your users navigate around the website and complete tasks.
Remember this: Users’ needs for mobile are unique. Space is limited, and your audience’s patience is minimal. So make every second of their time count.
6 Clearly state navigation instructions
Your customers have already gone through so much searching on Google to locate your site. Navigating through your website shouldn’t be more work for them. It needs to be seamless.
Expert developers and SEO practitioners advise writing menu language in such a way that clues users into what they should expect. Design and leave no room for misinterpretation. Use symbols, images, and instructional text.
7 Keep mobile navigation simple
Developing a navigable site for mobile means designing for small screen sizes — generally 720 pixels wide in portrait mode. It’s good to reinforce that you have limited time to provide your target audience’s needs and keep them engaged. So, there’s no room for trivial clutter. Cut right to the chase and fast.
Also, keep in mind that you should avoid confusing your target customers. Limit your mobile navigation to around 4-8 items on the top selection. Reduce the number of choices to avoid confusion and indecision.
In designing your website, there are many areas where you can go insane and exhibit your full potential in UI design. But your site’s mobile navigation is not the place to do that. Your priority is user experience, above all else. Therefore, your site should be a trusty cornerstone for the rest of your website — and especially for mobile.
Your target customers should know where your navigation menu is at all times. Create familiarity through features like an easily locatable menu.
In whatever you do, be sure to make decisions that will always benefit your site visitors in the end. It is for them that you’re designing your website after all. And when you have a site that’s pleasing and easily accessed, the sales and the conversions will follow.