Learnings from a website review – 2

Website Review Revelations - #2 the primary navigation

Following on from our first article in this series, I’ll carry on looking at key discussion points from a recent website review we performed. We’ll focus on the generic points which hopefully you’ll find of value as you can apply them to your website.

In the previous article, we talked about, as an initial step, considering your target audience: i.e. focusing on who you were actually looking to attract to your site and what you wanted them to do.

In this article, we’ll move on to looking at the primary menu (also referred to as the main menu or navigation bar).

The Main Menu

Typically, websites have some form of clear main menu/primary navigation area which allows website visitors an easy method of getting to key sections of your website. 

Here is an example of the main navigation we designed for another client, the Convince & Convert website:

An example of a website main menu (this is NOT from the website we reviewed).

Fig. 1 – An example of a website main menu (this is NOT from the website we reviewed).


Note: The menu in Fig.1 above is NOT from the website we reviewed; I’m sure showing it as an example. Quite a nice example actually as it shows off how your dropdown menus can be quite graphical, rather than just simply being a basic list of menu options ;)

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On the website we reviewed  the choice of menu items was flawed for two key reasons:

  1. The language used for the menu options was highly technical
  2. Obvious options were missing (e.g. ‘contact us‘)

The site was built using our favoured content management platform – WordPress. WordPress allows you to easily set which pages you would like on your main menu. Now, what can all too easily happen here is that the designer or developer sets some basic menu options early on in the website creation process (just to get something up there) and then everyone reviewing the site just gets used to seeing them – accepting the choices unquestioningly so that they slip through when the website goes live.

Think Again

To help rebalance the situation in favour of your website target audience, think again about the questions the website visitor is likely to have that we posed in the previous article. Think again about:

  • What pages/sections do we need to make it easy for them to get to?
  • What language show we describe those menu options as? What will the target audience understand?

Focussing on those two questions, a much more useful main menu could be created.

Bonus tip: some website us hamburger menu instead of larger primary menu. If you don’t know what one of those looks like. Look below.

Screenshot of the mobile view of website - with the hamburger menu highlighted

Fig 2 – note the hamburger menu icon; always try to include the word ‘menu’ as well.

Hamburger menus are very useful when we get to narrower screen widths such as on smartphones. However, if use them, don’t just use the hamburger symbol itself – include the word ‘Menu‘ as well.

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Closing Thoughts

That about wraps it up for today’s post – in the next in this series, we’ll be looking at the ‘hero’ area of the website in question.

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