Effective navigation for your website:
By Dr Alex
Providing your visitors with an easy way to navigate your site is of major importance: if people cannot easily find what they are looking for - and fast - they will leave.
As the very minimum, effective navigation needs to fulfill the following:
No pages should be more than 3 mouse clicks away.
No major pages should be more than 2 clicks away.
Visitors must be able to clearly identify the links. Using images for navigation or changing the links with style sheets is fine as long as your visitors have no doubt that they are indeed links.
Consistency is important. For example, if the left bar is the main way of navigating the site, do not delegate this job to the right bar or the top strip on subsequent pages. Also, make sure your links are represented in the same way throughout your site.
Navigation must be well-organized. This means that pages should be logically grouped together.
An easy and straight-forward way to provide effective navigation is to use menus. There are several important advantages to this approach:
People are familiar with menus and know how to use them.
Menus allow you to easily organize your pages into groups.
No matter how well you organize your pages, some pages will always belong into more than one group. Menus make it easy to place the same link under different categories.
Using clear, concise words in your menu items is better than using images, which may mean different things to different people.
Menus placed on top of your page or on the left bar provide consistency throughout your site.
Websites grow over time. Menus work well even for most complex navigation needs.
Unfortunately, HTML does not provide you with an easy way to add menus to your web pages. Coding your menus from scratch is a major undertaking.
How does it work? Everything is done visually - no coding required - so when you open your web page click on Visual Web Designer. To add a menu, select Insert / Add Menu.
This creates a default menu, which you can easily modify.
It is important to know that there is just one copy of the menu, with your web pages linking to it. This solution is best because:
The Add Menu command creates your menu, and places the reference to it to display it as part of your web page. After that, maintaining your menus us easily done with the help of 2 tools:
1. Use Menu Colors to select the color scheme for your menu (and refine it if needed), and
2. Click on Edit Menu to add new menu items, and change or delete the existing ones.
It does not get simpler than that. When you put lots of effort in providing good navigation you do not want to waste time in a constant struggle to keep up with the changes. The visual menu designer does everything for you.
HTA's work on Windows, can read and write files, and are absolutely great for rapid design of various utilities.
Putting it all together