This article first appeared in the October 2010 edition of the Bam Ballyhoo, our semi-regular email newsletter jam-packed with tips and hints, and news from Bam Creative. You can subscribe to this great resource over on the Bam Ballyhoo page.
How many websites do you visit and can't find the information you're looking for? We'd say plenty. The web is full of difficult to use websites that serve to frustrate visitors.
The fact is how your content reads has the same if not more, importance to how your website looks visually. Research result after result shows that if a website visitor can't find what they are looking for, and quick, they will abandon your website.
If your website content is difficult to understand, or the navigation menu is too complex, visitors will end up leaving your website unsatisfied.
How can you avoid your website doing the same to others?
Keep your navigation simple. There is no need to have 50 primary menu items; you need to sort your information flow better than that.
Offer different navigation methods. You could try linking text within your content to pages with more information, offering a sitemap with a comprehensive list of pages within your website or even adding a search box if your website size warrants it.
Don't reinvent the wheel. There is a reason nearly every website uses the same common menu naming conventions (home, about us, contact us). Website users learn to look for these menu items, and it becomes second nature. Don't be tempted to use 'Methods of Communication' instead of 'Contact Us', there are better ways of being creative than making your navigation and links too complex.
Make content readable. Write short paragraphs and utilise headings and sub headings. Research shows people tend to 'scan' a page before reading it
properly. Use sub headings and short paragraphs to aid the visitor in quickly searching your content for the information they are after.
Watch your website statistics. If there are key pages not getting any visitors, ask yourself why - perhaps these pages are too hard to find, and need to be promoted more effectively?
There are five ways to combat visitor confusion. We utilise these lessons and many others with every website we create. If you're having trouble with confusing content, speak to us about how we can help.