Navigating websites in the age of the iPhone

23. March 2009 02:35 by Sasha in   //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

The popularity of the iPhone has had a profound effect on not only new phones but also on websites.
Even though new phones are coming out that have twice the features, the iPhone still is the standard we compare all other phones to.

The main reason is usability. Suddenly features that have been on phones for years are actually being used. Alot of phones were capable of internet browsing and email but only since the iPhone have those features been easy enough to access that even my grandmother could do it. (This is only theoretical ofcourse. My Grandmother says her loyalty is to her Blackberry - Damn you Barack Obama!!)

So how has this affected websites? I'll tell you.
These days everyone expects their sites to be as easy to use and to navigate as an iPhone. This ofcourse is a good thing.

So what makes for good navigation?

1. Clearly organised and visible top level menu items.

2. Resisting allowing sitemaps to go more than three levels deep.

3. For larger sites (More than 3 levels) use a secondary navigation that adjusts with each top level menu item. This is usually done with the top level menu running horizontally across the top and the secondary menu vertically on the left. - Left is better than right as we read english left to right.

4. Shortcuts to most visited pages or areas prominently displayed. This can be in the page itself or in a constant part of the site on every page.

5. Landing pages - For very large informational sites as each new area of the site is entered then a landing page that has quick links (Icons are nice) and descriptions to pages below the current navigation make getting around easier.

6. Bread crumbs.  - There is a reason Hansel and Gretel were found before the wolf ate them. I wonder if they own the patent?

7. Sitemap - Not really a big fan of these but if done properly they can't hurt.

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