First, think about the user experience. Their experience is what matters. In this post I essentially discuss the value of conventions. On a website, out of site out of mind.
It is a false assumption to think that if people want to find something on your website they will. It’s just not true. There is a cost to hiding your navigation behind a minimal web design or placing ‘search’ and ‘social media icons’ in non-standard areas and that is, it’s very likely that a significant number of visitors will not find the very things you want them to.
“If you want something to be seen and used, don’t make people look for it. Put it where they’re already looking.” Julie Zhou, Product Design VP @ Facebook
If you really want something on your site to be used you need to actively promote it, it needs to be clearly labelled and ideally have some long-tail text accompanying it to drive search engine optimisation.
Common perils of hiding things include:
– Mobile first websites that transfer popular mobile devices such as hamburger menus to a desktop environment
– Social media icons buried in on the site
– Missed opportunities to insinuate a menu item deeper in the site, when your visitor might be more primed to take a particular path or action
– Missed contextual actions that effectively merchandise your product and services
– Deep sites, without a fixed nav or helpful footer, can easily leave a visitor feeling lost and frustrated, particularly on mobile
– Websites that don’t have a descriptive title on the home page
– Placing nav items in unconventional or ‘hidden’ places
“If you have a homepage with just a few words you will get a certain level of traffic. However, for almost every relevant word that you add to the page you will probably get more traffic as those new words combine with existing words to create many more combinations of new queries for which you are relevant.” EGOL, Content Director, Moz
It’s unwise to compromise User Experience (UX) and SEO fundamentals in the pursuit of a rigid design aesthetic. Ultimately, it can reduce the likelihood that people will discover your great content, or understand it when they do.
Smart web designs can accommodate both the desire for a clean site and one that provides a great user experience and drives strong SEO.
At Leading Hand Design we are experts in web planning and strategy development, web design, content marketing, social media design and management. Ask us to review your online presence today and discover how we can make your new site not only look great but perform as well.