Stickin’ Around Web Sites
2. Provide solid navigation. Once visitors understand where they are, the next step to moving them further into your site is about orientation and navigation. Imagine them standing in the middle of your site, just like they would stand in a brick-and-mortar store, looking around, checking out the options.
A strong and clear site architecture will make it easy for them to see what their choices are and make the best one for their needs or interests. A few years ago, Amazon.com got bogged down with bulky tabs that made its navigation appear heavy and cluttered instead of intuitive. Amazon’s redesign is a more usable two-tier top navigation, where visitors can browse product subcategories while still within view of easily clickable alternative product category pages.
3. Engage them. Great design is more than pixel-deep. It not only gets your attention and engages you, but it draws you into the experience. A smart visual treatment is more than beautiful. It’s also functional. It provides navigational cues, designates zones and draws the eye into the page and the mouse into the experience.
People are more likely to follow through on a Web visit if they can intuit through visual cues that they are on the right track to reaching their goal. That’s why so many shopping carts offer “steps” to the check-out process: step 1, address; step 2, payment; step 3, confirm; step 4, order. Users are more willing to click through and complete information because they know it’s taking them closer, easily and clearly, to their end goal.