Master mobile navigation

This article first appeared in issue 232 of .net magazine – the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Navigation does a lot more than move someone from location to location within a site; it shapes a user’s experience. Smart navigation can enhance a user’s understanding of your site’s content, services, and offerings, while obtuse language, unfamiliar acronyms and jargon can confuse and distract your users from their goals. While well-executed navigation reflects your brand and enhances its credibility, inappropriate navigation create dissonance and breeds mistrust. Simple, straightforward navigation can increase your sales by ensuring users easily find your goods and can make a purchase; confusing navigation can instead ramp up your customer service and support costs.

Sure, it’s not always sexy, but navigation is critical to the success or failure of your website. It doesn’t matter how good your content, product, or service is … if users can’t find it, they’ll move on.

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Aaron is a web standards and accessibility advocate at Microsoft.