Designing a Responsive Navigation Your Users Will Love
With the lightning-fast growth of smartphone users, there’s a lot of talk going on in the world of web design about the top approaches to creating the best possible mobile user experience. The long known approach of mobile websites seems to be a thing of the past, giving way to responsive web design or even native apps.
But which is the best website navigation solution?
There really isn’t a singular answer, but the consistent trend for many a design agency is crafting a responsive web design that is supposed to provide a seamless and easy experience for all visitors, no matter their platform. But of course, in reality, having a responsive web design does not guarantee anything – there are plenty of examples of terrible responsive designs that are, if anything, even worse for the user than its predecessors.
Still, for a savvy web designer, there are certain steps he can take to make a responsive web design comfortable to navigate and use. So here are a few tips that, if followed, can help significantly improve the chances of a responsive design being successful:
Look for Good Ideas
It may seem as an obvious thing to do – getting inspiration and ideas from the designs of your peers is one of the most important steps in becoming a good designer yourself.
But it’s really much more than just going through a few similar websites and copying what they did. A good navigation requires that you immerse yourself in the process from the users’ perspective, meaning that you should actively be seeking out responsive designs that make you, as a user, happy, and looking for the key ingredients that make them so successful.
This way you will inevitably find the necessary inspiration to start generating your own ideas about the process, which can help you find ideal solutions to each unique situation, instead of relying on the same generic ideas which will make your design disappear in the world of online clutter.
It’s All About the User
You might not want to admit this, but the whole merit and value of your designs basically comes down to if the visitor is happy with what he sees when he goes to the website.
It does not matter that you find it cutting-edge, fresh or hip if the experience is not comfortable for all of your users, no matter what device they are using.
Once again, you have to get in the shoes of a user, and the best way to do this is to approach a design from a mobile visitors’ perspective. This way, when you strip down everything that’s unnecessary, you’re left with the core message that can later on be expanded, if needed.
Testing Makes Perfect
Well, almost perfect.
A web designer probably won’t reach a point where it will not be possible to improve a design anymore, but if he develops a habit of testing everything from multiple perspectives, he might end up getting pretty close to the best result possible.
So when working on improving the navigation of your website, always put it to the test – create an HTML page and test it through every possible browser and platform to make sure there are no glitches or any inconsistencies. You can always add stuff later on, but the core of the navigation is what can ultimately decide the entire success of the design, so you simply have to take the time to get it just right.
While the best possible website navigation solution for multiple platforms is still up for debate, at least for now, responsive web design is still the option that any web design agency would be foolish not to take advantage of.
And while many of the responsive websites don’t always provide a great navigation experience, if a designer is constantly looking for new breakthrough ideas, manages to look at everything from the users’ perspective and constantly tries to improve the navigation with testing, chances of success increase greatly.
Shayne Moore is a Director at a leading graphic design agency in Christchurch, having a pool of professional website designers who design and build beautiful designs. Shayne is passionate about digital marketing and loves to share his creative ideas on the latest design trends. You can know more about him on Linkedin.