Traffic Cop, Not a Clown: Good Web Navigation
Ian Lurie Sep 4 2007
It’s “cute”. It’s “clever”. It’s useless!
I don’t want ‘clever’. And I don’t necessarily want cute, unless you’re selling me teddy bears.
Have a look at this design (blurred to protect the innocent). This site sells 800 numbers:
What I need – the button descriptions – is totally shouted down by what’s cute: The numbers on the buttons.
I’m not saying this just to beat up on some poor designer. There’s a way to avoid this kind of mess:
- Look at your web site navigation: The buttons that let people move around the site.
- Write down the first 10 adjectives you think of.
- Read them.
Adjectives to watch out for:
Phrases to watch out for:
“This will really make people ask questions.”
Navigation shouldn’t make people ask questions. It should answer them. That is how you will get more clicks.
“This is exactly what the CEO wanted.”
Run! The CEO generally has no idea what the customer wants.
“I love these icons!”
Gut check time. Do you love the icons, or what they say? The former is worthless if no one can figure out the latter.
Navigation should be clear, compelling, helpful. It’s a traffic cop, not a clown.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint.He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More