Do We Really Need a Site Navigation?
Whoever performed any usability tests knows, that users look straight away at the content. Users first look the pictures then at the titles then at the text. Navigation often gets completely ignored. In my seven years of conceiving websites and monitoring usablity tests I am tempted to say that navigation is useless.
When unexperienced designers design a website they often concentrate on the navigation. For some reason clients and unexperienced web designers are hypnotized by the idea that it is the navigation that defines the look and feel of a website. This is totally wrong.
Navigation only comes into play, when a user feels lost. It is more a parachute than a joystick. Designers should focus more on the text grid and the textbody definition (what fonts/sizes/colors to use). I recently reduced the navigation on my site to a bread crumb and a couple of metalinks in the footer: Page views doubled. Of course, my private little test not the only reference I have.
What is needed in terms of navigation? You need a home link. If only to reassure the user that he can find the homepage at any time. You need something that shows the user where he is (bread crumb). Navigation is usefull as a mere reassurance that if you get lost, there is a way to get back on track. It’s not useless, but almost.Ð