The usefulness of global navigation

Duncan Stephen
Friday 7 March 2014

Global navigation is less useful on large, complex websites

Here is a thought-provoking article about global navigation. We made the decision to remove the University’s global navigation menu from the Study at St Andrews website. But Study at St Andrews has a global navigation menu of its own.

If someone is in the non-degree courses section, are they suddenly likely to want to switch to view postgraduate information? It seems unlikely, although removing global navigation menus like this would still feel controversial. We may monitor user behaviour to analyse whether it would be worth reworking this navigation menu or even removing it altogether.

When was the last time you went on the Web seeking to buy a clingfilm and foil dispenser but instead bought a frame stand for your guitar? It doesn’t happen. The vast majority of web behaviour we have observed over the years is deliberate, zoned and very much about a specific task…

The core purpose of navigation is to help customers move forward. We should relentlessly focus on streamlining and simplifying that ability to keep moving forward. Particularly when we are managing large websites, we must ruthlessly prune any links or content that do not serve the forward momentum.

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