Navigation should be simple, concise, task-driven and targeted at the main users of the website.
The key principles of navigation & menus are
Keep it simple & concise. Complexity is bad for everyone, the natural impulse of organisations is to add and never remove or merge pages. Less is more.
Meaningful labels – don’t call menu items like “Helpful Guides”, “Resources” or “Solutions”
Pages should be based on a user’s purpose, and ideally, a very specific task. Don’t make pages based an organisation’s departments or divisions – user’s don’t care about your company’s internal politics or hierarchy.
Context is king – Show links to pages in context, don’t make the user have to read a “list of links”
When thinking of creating pages, its particularly useful to consider
Description – In a sentence or 2, which will page topic be
Target – who this page is targeting – eg. Prospective customers
Task – The primary target of the page – this should be the user-driven – not organisation driven. If someone lands on this page – what do they need to know
Opportunities – What other pages are related, useful or have some kind of relationship with this page
If you a re-developing an existing website, you should also look at opportunities to delete & merge existing pages into single pages.
About Fraser Clark
I've been a professional developer for over 10 years. I've been consulting and developing websites & software for small businesses, multi-nationals & governments.