How to place logo and navigation bar to enhance visitors’ experience
When starting your website project, one of the major discussions and decisions have to be made is the overall look and feel of website – website design. However, website design is not only about the color schemes used, and doing a CSS style sheet with the latest coding practices. It is essential to decide where and when to present the logo and navigation bar to visitors and provide them easy viewing and navigation experience, yet to tell where they are by placing your brand – your logo and perhaps a slogan.
Placing the navigation and logo at the bottom of the page
Placing the branding and information at the bottom or at last is most seen in advertisements and TV commercials. However, when watching TV, we actually do not have choice what we will see while the advertisement plays. We cannot decide whether to pause or which part to skip in an advertisement.
However, this is very different with websites. If you have a very good content, you could retain visitors to spend time at your website, in some cases even for hours. While navigating, if you place the navigation and branding only at the bottom of the site, visitor will have to go through your content to navigate to another page, even if they do not want to read or accidentally came across a page. If you present the navigation menu and branding at the bottom of your website, you should be aware of the risk visitors never really to remember anything at all other than the content they saw. Not only that, no one wants to come to a website and have to scroll to the bottom of the page only to find out where other content or what type of content can be found.
Placing the navigation bar and logo at the top of the page
Placing the navigation bar and the logo at the top of the page, most probably started as convention. When World Wide Web was just starting out, people were used to reading traditional newspapers and magazines. At layout design, you always place the logo and title at the top of the page. However this could be different in advertisements or TV commercials.
Secondly, again back in time, this convention started as a result of slow internet connections, when images and content took lot time to load. As website owner you would like to present the user with information ‘Where am I?’ as soon as possible and the navigation menu, without having to wait for the rest of the page to load.
Usability stand point
From usability stand point, it would be painful for user to scroll to the bottom of the website, every single time wanted to navigate to another page.
If you would like to have a navigation and logo presented at the bottom of the page, solution could be to present fixed navigation at the bottom of the browser no matter of the position of page or page length. However, this could lead to increased bounce rate as visitors would jump from one page to another.
Another argument why logo and navigation menu should stay at the top of the page is that visitors eyes in most cultures – left to right reading – generally will start at the top left of the page and then move across and through the page in a clockwise way. If your site is presented to this type of audience, placing the navigation menu and branding the bottom, would mean your visitors will get or see this content at last.
Other important navigation tips
Additional some important tips to make decision on your website design, position of the navigation menu, branding and presentment of social network profiles:
- Place link at the bottom of each page or in the footer section, which will easily provide your visitors by clicking the link to scroll at the top of your page. This is one of the major mistakes web designers do, when they create a website or template for a website.
- Place navigation menu in the footer or just below the footer section. This way user can navigate to your most important pages when finished reading the content. This position is perfect for contact us link, or about page and link to your shop.
- Don’t distract your visitors with too many social profiles. Today’s websites are all about social media and social interaction. However, it doesn’t mean you are successful if you are all over the web. It is better to place only few social networks and your RSS feed link. This way each visitor will get the impression – your website is not one of those spam websites. The best position from my experience to position and a way to position social networking profile links is the footer, or in header of your website. This should be done with buttons which accompanies the website design. However, the buttons leading to your social network profiles should not be large. The main reason why a visitor will choose to follow your posts is the quality of the content, not how big and impressive your social network icons are.
The discussion for placing the navigation menu and logo and their position could be done for hours. However, decision on how to place the navigation menu and branding is up to you. You are the only person who would know visitor types and what would be convenient for them.