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Some sites are huge. Using a site with a large number of pages can be like negotiating your way through a complicated labyrinth. So here are some tips on how to make a website easier to navigate.

Use a site map

A hierarchical page of links to all the main sections in your site gives the visitor a good overview of how your site is structured. Sometimes you can link to every page but if your site is particularly great in size you may have to leave out individual pages to prevent it from looking confusing.

Include a breadcrumb trail

This term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale. Its digital counterpart allows the user to track their way back up to the home page. An example of a breadcrumb trail is:

Home > About Us > Board of Directors > John Smith

Make it searchable

Having a search box on your site is a quick and easy way for users to find what they want. If you don’t have the capability to implement your own you can integrate Google’s search into your site.

Use multi-level navigation

As well as having main sections, your site can then have sub-sections. The subsections can be represented on your site via a drop down menu and/or a secondary left-hand sub navigation.

Keep it consistent

One of the golden rules of designing interfaces is to ‘strive for consistency’ (Point one from Shneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design). As well as keeping your design consistent (e.g. having the menu in the same place on every page) you should use standard design elements throughout the site.

Colour code sections

Colour-coding sections will allow your visitors to subconsciously groups pages together. For example, a health and safety website I designed uses green, yellow and red to differentiate the main sections.

To get a website that is easy to navigate call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a freelance web designer from Leeds. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.