Mobile Website Navigation - A Whole New World

We discussed in a previous article "Website Navigation - Navigating the Web" that the arrival of Smartphone technology brought about a significant change in the way we navigate websites. We couldn't simply replicate what we had always done because we just didn't have the screen space. So what makes for good mobile site navigation then?

No Content Left Behind

If you remember back to our last article on navigation, its sole purpose is to get users from one section to another and mobile navigation is no different. The first common mistake is to assume that during the mobilization process some content will need to be left out, that not everything will make the cut. Here at Archboard we believe that if a piece of content is important enough for your desktop site, it's important enough for your mobile site as well. A well crafted mobile navigation system doesn't need to cut content, in fact it does just the opposite and delivers the same great content with the same great user experience. 

Types and Styles

Smartphone technology has existed long enough now that we are entering an exciting phase of the mobile navigation process, the innovation stage. We have gotten comfortable with and somewhat tired of the hamburger (three line) mobile menu icon that brings up the phones standard system menu and we are now pushing the limits. Mobile navigation systems now are coming in all shapes and sizes. From fly out menus that displace the site content, to multi level rotating menus. We have come a long way! The exciting part is that new and innovative ideas are still popping up every day which means that we are nowhere near done tapping into the possibilities these newer devices have to offer us.

The Experience

This is the key when designing a mobile navigation system, user experience. Smartphone users have grown accustom to a certain user experience that permeates throughout their entire device. Google, over the past few months, has invested a significant amount of time and manpower into unifying the menu system across all of their apps. It is our job as web developers and site designers to do our best to create a mobile navigation system that reflects the common mobile experience that users are accustom to. This whole concept of "common experience" does permeate into every aspect of mobilizing a website, however, it is most significant in the navigation portion. Creating a system that users are already comfortable with and doing it in a creative, innovative way, will result in a system that users are both comfortable with and impressed by.

The reality is that we have not really giving any hard and fast rules here, but more pointers to concepts that must be thought of and processed through when crafting a mobile navigation system. In the end, it really is up to you to choose a system that you feel works best and will give your users the best possible experience and will allow them to find what they are looking for with ease.