this article is based on the book “Designing Web Navigation”
An important thing in the web development is a design of web navigation. Especially when we are talking about a complex multifunctional web site, such as social network. You can try to design the web navigation „from the ground up“, it is a difficult and interesting way. But it is better to use the world experience of web developers, remember received basic principles for the navigation, using the established web navigation testing methods and methods of estimation its effectiveness. Our team has the tendency to make decisions based only on the amount of subjective views of the team members. Of course, the opinion of each member must be taken into account. But it is necessary, together with it, to use more objective methods of estimation. I offer you a short description of the basic design principles and methods of testing web sites, related to web navigation.
Heuristic evaluation. A popular, low-budget analytical usability method, heuristic evaluation are qualitative and rely on subjective inferences made by the person doing the evaluation.
Checklist review. Evaluating navigation with checklist is similar to a heuristic evaluation. But instead of overarching principles, concrete test statements. Similar to a heuristic evaluation, it’s best to conduct the review with more than one person.
Navigation stress test. The stress test method is simple. Pick a page (pages) randomly from deep within the site. Print pages, assume the you are a first-time visitor to
the site and murk up the printed pages with the symbols for each test question:
For question, that can’t be answered, determine the cause.
Usability testing. With this method, participants use computers as they normally would to browse the web site. Software then tracks where they clicked and how they navigated. Usability test are often structured as laboratory-based trials. Can be costly and time-consuming.
Metric analysis. A good way to learn whether your web site is achieving its goals is to gather traffic data. But it’s difficult to show cause and effect with web metrics. Modern web measurement tools are captured many important business-specific metrics, such as:
Your goal is to tie an improvement in the navigation to an improvement in business. Before a relaunch, get a baseline measure of a key statistics important to stakeholders. The steps break down this way: