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#DigitalKarma: Why navigation and search are important

The average time a person spends on a website the first time is abysmally low – not more than 20 seconds, according to recent statistics. So, for first time visitors, these 20 seconds are defining moments. They are forming impressions on your website based on various aspects. The most important of them is navigation.

Navigation is the ease with which a visitor is able to traverse the length and breadth of your website in order to acquire the necessary information, make decisions and act on the information. As in several other cases, the classical AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) model works here as well.

The site’s look and feel should ideally grab the attention of users. The ease of navigation to access information must further the interest and the desire for the site’s content. Ultimately, right links should be made easily identifiable and invite the reader to take action.

Repeat traffic on sites has a lot to do with how easily the target users get what they wanted. Ludicrous as it may sound, but there are countless sites that have lost prospects’ interest this way.

Navigation is a part of basic hygiene for today’s designers. Its most basic tenet is ‘keep it simple’: present the right information at the right time in the most easily identifiable manner. Consequently, the spread of the basic action elements needs to be thoughtful and purpose-driven.

There are a lot of simple and efficient navigation options, such as categories, sections, tags, authors, search, site maps, footers, 404 pages, content types and bread crumbs. They make the landing page very user-friendly and more organised, which, in turn, optimises it.

Visitors seek value-added information from your site. The search activity could either be voluntary from the user side or induced from the publisher side. Either way, search option needs to be more proactive in its position and in bold font.

From a publishing industry perspective, search can be on related stories, popular topics, other trending stories, what one could also be interested in – which is possible based on assessing user behavior from data analytics or content updates, among other content. Faceted search, for instance, lets users refine or navigate a collection of information by using several attributes and offer them usable information.

Navigation and search are two very important features that designers and content management teams must lay emphasis on. Or else, bounce rates could be high resulting in lower revisit rate.

Priyali Hooda

Priyali Hooda is the Senior Product Manager and Digital Media Consultant at KREATIO.