Monday, 26 June 2017

10 Ways to Design Menus That Don’t Suck

There are definite right and wrong ways to design navigation menus. This basic part of a website is often overlooked in the design process and it shows in terms of usability.

Clunky, overcrowded or missing navigation are the most common issues and quite frankly they can make your website simply suck. Don’t be that guy (or girl). Use these tips to ensure that you are using modern navigation patterns in your website projects for cool, creative navigation elements that don’t suck. (And are highly usable.)

1. Ditch the Mega Menus

Mega menus was a design fad that clients loved—even when designers hated it. The oversized menu style that includes “everything but the kitchen sink” is overwhelming to users and doesn’t provide any real value.

Only a handful of major retailers can really get away with using mega menus, and the purpose there is to show scale of inventory. The usefulness of the overloaded navigation element is questionable.

Often, a mega menu option is selected because it is too hard to narrow down what to put in the navigation. Make the tough choices. Dig in analytics to see what users are looking for. Honestly, most users who want a very specific thing will find it using search anyway.

2. Make Search Prominent

And speaking of search: Make it prominent. Search should be on every page. It should in in the main navigation. And it should be large and easy to access.

Superb search functionality is the link that will keep users on a website. If what they are looking for isn’t readily available, the next option is likely to search for it. (You can thank Google for this search-first thought process.)

Don’t try to fight it. Work with users and include search as part of the main navigation. (And make sure the box is big enough to type, and fully see, common phrases into.)

3. Limit the Number of Navigation Choices

It’s your job to anticipate what content users will want to access next. Limit navigation choices to the most popular pages and information in the website design.

Almost every navigation menu should include search, an about or contact page and e-commerce sites should always include a cart or buy now button. After that navigation elements should be driven by site content.

4. Develop Smart Navigation Menus

Good navigation will help users move from one bit of content to the next logical point. This content is often different on different parts of the website.

Create multiple navigation configurations so that users have easy access to the content that is the next logical step in their path around the design. While some elements might overlap, others assist users and help them move deeper into the design.

We are in an age where users have come to expect certain levels of personalization. Amazon does a great job of this with navigation elements that even call users by name. Take a close look at the navigation next time you log in to see [Your Name Here]’s Amazon.com. The secondary navigation includes information such as the user’s annual donation for Smile users, recent order history and even credits to other Amazon services. (Everything thereafter is pretty personalized, too.)

5. Order Nav Elements Purposefully

The order of navigation elements is just as important as the decision to use them. Items at the beginning and end of the navigation element will be most effective, most seen and most clicked. User these positions carefully.

There’s even some science to back this up. The serial position effect is the tendency of a person to recall the first and last items in a list most consistency. Further, users tend to recall the most recent items best (recency effect) and the first few items in a list are recalled better than middle elements (primacy effect).

Look at user flow patterns in your website analytics to help determine exactly what pages and elements should be front and center. Include pages that users are going to from the homepage and content that you want users to connect with. Eliminate navigation elements that aren’t driving user flow.

6. Use Sticky Navigation for Long-Scrolling Pages

Don’t let users lose track of navigation. Whether it sticks to the top, or bottom or side of the screen, any page with a long-scrolling format should include a sticky menu. The reason behind this is simple: Don’t make users work to keep interacting with your website.

The easier it is to move around and experience content, the more likely users are to do just that. The more time a user spends on your website with your design, the more likely they are to convert on a desired user action.

7. Don’t Hide the Navigation

Tiny menu items, links tucked away at the bottom of the screen or only in the footer, and pop-out navigation hidden behind oddball icons and lack of navigation on interior pages will only keep users from clicking. Don’t hide website navigation. It should be front and center. It should be on every page.

Users can get to your website in any number of ways. Make sure that there’s a navigational element waiting form them when they arrive.

8. Use Descriptive Labels

From navigation words to icons, every element should tell users exactly what will happen with a click. Use commonly accepted icons, such as a shopping card to check out or magnifying glass for search or even a hamburger icon for pop-out menu styles.

Then take it a step further and use text labels that tell the user exactly what information is contained therein. Try to avoid overly generic labels such as services or offerings, if there’s a word that better explains the content.

9. Consider Full-Page Nav

Sometimes the design is the navigation. If there are a few key elements that are vital for users, showcase them with full-screen navigation.

While this won’t be appropriate for every project, it can be effective for smaller websites, portfolios or project work.

10. Go Vertical

Vertical navigation is trendy right now, and for good reason. It is easy to see and draws the eye because it is somewhat different.

Side, vertically-oriented navigation is a good option for websites that need a little more space for number of navigation elements. With a deeper menu, the design can accommodate more nav elements without feeling cluttered and maintaining adequate space between elements. 

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Source

from Webdesigner Depot https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2017/06/10-ways-to-design-menus-that-dont-suck/

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Popular Design News of the Week: June 19, 2017 – June 25, 2017

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

CoolHue – Coolest Gradient Hues and Swatches

 

Google Introduces Spectral, a New Web Font

 

Web Developer Portfolios – Templates for Developers and Programmers

 

What is the ROI of Design?

 

How the Internet Killed Squares

 

Site Design: Tesla Autopilot

 

Finalists in Canada 150 Logo Contest Fail to Impress

 

The Expert Guide to Working from Home

 

The Modern Web Design Process: Setting Goals

 

Google for Jobs is Now Open to all Job Search Sites & Developers

 

The Buzzfeed Redesign: UK Art Director Tim Lane Talks Us Through his Seven-month Overhaul

 

Moths are Eliminating Screen Glare Once and for all

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Designing Interface Animations

 

Mollie — Better Payments

 

Qlone – 3D Scan any Object with your iPhone or iPad

 

Proofreading Marks for Typographers

 

How to Create a Side Project that Customers Actually Want

 

Scrapbox – A New Style of Note-taking Where Ideas Connect

 

Inly: Beautiful Invoicing that Gets You Paid Quick

 

Clean Todo – An Efficient and Elegant To-do App

 

Google VR 180

 

How to Build your own Alexa Service

 

Twist, a Rival for Slack?

 

The Importance of Cognitive Bias in Experience Design

 

How Big Data is Stopping Us Taking Risks

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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Source

from Webdesigner Depot https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2017/06/popular-design-news-of-the-week-june-19-2017-june-25-2017/

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Comics of the Week #395

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

No pants required

Designer. Not psychic.

 

Photoshop withdrawal

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

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Source

from Webdesigner Depot https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2017/06/comics-of-the-week-395/

Friday, 23 June 2017

Is UX Really That Important?

One of the most oft-repeated criticisms of any design is that it’s “poor user experience”. UX is set up as the ultimate achievement for any design project. But is this an over-simplification of the designer’s role? Should everything be about user experience?

To paraphrase Leonard Hofstadter: “UX is a ‘smart decision’; it is like a bran muffin—a thing that you’re choosing because it is good for you…But sometimes, you want things in your design to be a Cinnabon, you know? A strawberry Pop Tart. Something you’re excited about even though it could give you diabetes”.

Today I’ve put together a list of sites that are rarely credited with good user experience, but that are still praise-worthy despite—or perhaps because of—that fact. We can admire their originality, their interactions, and their creative direction.

1. Scrolling: parallax, long and infinite

While scrolling, in all its hypostases, underlies a bunch of today’s websites—especially those that bring to life a storytelling experience—UX gurus find this technique “mauvais ton”. They consider it bad for many reasons:

  • users may not know what to do when first they stumble upon such a site;
  • users can feel confused and frustrated;
  • users often become bored after several minutes of constant moving;
  • there is no way out, whatsoever;
  • the navigation is not transparent and habitual;
  • relatively bad site performance;
  • in some cases, it does not work in mobile devices;
  • etc.

However, we still eagerly click on a website that promises to take us on a long exciting adventure. Does the “comfort zone” matter? When all you need to do is to toy with a mouse scroll wheel and amuse yourself with some inventive tricks.

What does the Bank of England do?

Ivan Toro

2. Experiments with Typography and Taglines

As all we know, your message to the targeted audience should be as clean and clear as a little angel’s tear. Good contrast, optimal readability, and some other factors ensure the successful transmission of the company’s message. For example, Six Potatoes or Biron: their titles are pretty straightforward and plain. Without a doubt, this technique works: it is really hard to miss the tagline.

Six Potatoes

Biron

However, what about the homepage of Bolden? Their “welcome” message is a true mess. Letters overlap each other looking much like the Venn diagram. The first thing that comes to mind “What a…?” Undoubtedly, such a peculiar solution evokes mixed feelings. Nevertheless, these feelings ignite our interest. Curiosity is our natural instinct that is truly powerful.

What’s really hidden inside this tiny chaos? The team is managed to seize and hold our attention, and not only convey the message and reflect a creative thinking but also use our short memory span to their advantage.

Bolden

3. WebGL Experiments

Can anyone call WebGL along with Chrome experiments an example of good UX? Absolutely, not. Some of them even do not work on the majority of browsers, so a lion share of online audience are simply unable to open them on their desktops, to say nothing about the tablets and mobile devices. But still, the upsurge of using high-end features and experimental libraries in building web applications is evident. Interland by Google, DEVX Experiments86 and half years—all these and many more concepts slowly but surely are earning their place in the sun. They are impressive, ingenious and intriguing; and if they open in your browser you will definitely forget about the comfort at least for 10-15 minutes.

Welcome to Fillory

Senso

4. Original Navigation

“Should I stay or should I go?”

Navigation plays a decisive role in whether your users stay or leave. No one wants to fish in the dark. Navigation’s power to destroy user experience (or vice versa) take it to the next level. Good practice encourages us to make the main menu simple, handy, intuitive, but at the same time all-embracing. Everything should be on the surface, or at within easy clicks. The user should get answers to their questions quickly and without much pain.

Plain top bars with nav links, hamburger menu buttons and of course, sticky nav bars that accompany us on our journey through the website are really popular these days. Staying conservative and pragmatic in choosing the navigation lets you provide your visitors with a Navigation GPS Unit rather than a map with descriptions written in Moon-letters. Nonetheless, to a certain degree these trivial solutions will take away all the fun and playfulness of your interface.

Unexpected menus are creative, thought-provoking and captivating. Yes, they can be misleading, but when done right they are almost flawless masterpieces that pique our curiosity.

Daniel Spatzek

In The Box

Conclusion

Without a doubt, user experience is a vital aspect of a good web application whether it is just a plain blog, complex corporate portal, or huge e-commerce website. Along with such important things like mobile-friendliness or cross-browser compatibility it forms a safe and sound foundation that ensures success. However, sometimes, like in the real world, there are things that we find truly uncomfortable, like taking long trips in a sports car or wearing high heels, but still we admire them, want to possess them, they make us turn our heads.

So, should everything be about UX? Should we all abandon the desire of going off the beaten track and follow the same old roads over and over? Is it possible to strike the balance between creativeness and pragmatism?

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Source

from Webdesigner Depot https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2017/06/is-ux-really-that-important/