2015 has been a huge year for mobile, and we’re sure that you don’t need us to tell you that mobile is one of the most important areas in which to concentrate your efforts going into 2016. 2014 was the year that browsing on mobile devices overtook that on the desktop, and mobile continues to grow in popularity, as does its influence upon shaping our browsing habits. Those brands who still haven’t optimised their websites for mobile run a very real risk of being left behind.
But it isn’t enough to simply make your website responsive, and then leave it that (we wish it was)! Much like the rest of the digital marketing world, the mobile dimension is constantly changing and moving forward, consistently improving the user experience. It’s no secret that consumers now expect websites to keep up with the newer, slicker phone models being introduced onto the market and to keep developing to make their online browsing even simpler and easier.
To keep you at the razor-edge of mobile digital marketing developments and help you to impress your users with a forward-thinking and easy to use website, in this post we’re discussing some of the most prominent recent changes in mobile navigation. In addition, we’ll be sharing some extra tips and tricks to help you keep improving your mobile navigation. Ready to get started?
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most popular and trends that have occurred in mobile navigation last year.
It’s becoming increasingly popular for websites to hide their navigation off-screen, and to only reveal the menu when a user interacts with the website in some way – either by clicking or hovering. There tends to be a symbol in the top hand left side of the screen to denote the navigation, which then expands.
Why is this becoming popular? Hiding the navigation is a quick and easy way to reduce the clutter on a website, meaning that it appears cleaner, simpler and more minimalistic.
Why do users like it? A symbol denoting the navigation is simple and easy to understand for a user, and being presented with a straightforward and clean-looking website also means they won’t feel confused about what they’re supposed to do – therefore they’re more likely to stick around for a while!
As part of this hidden navigation, hamburger menus are now common. We guarantee that you’ll have seen a hamburger menu on a mobile website before, even if you don’t recognise the name. A hamburger menu is a little symbol consisting of three horizontal lines, which expands when you hover over it. It’s clean and efficient and has come to be recognised as best practice in mobile navigation.
Why is this becoming popular? It’s an established way to denote a hidden menu and is relatively straightforward in terms of design. Much like hiding the navigation in the first place, it helps to make your website appear cleaner and more simplistic.
Why do users like it? A hamburger menu is almost universally recognised by users now, so it provides them with a quick and easy way to navigate around your website. And as we all know, it’s all about convenience and ease when it comes to mobile!
There has been some debate about the efficacy of the hamburger menu and its impact on the user experience; although there is no real data to back this up.
As you may have gathered, simplicity and ease is the name of the game when it comes to mobile navigation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to limit the number of layers of navigation you have. This boils down to one of the golden rules of digital marketing as a whole – reduce the number of clicks it takes to give a user what they want. Three levels is probably a good guideline.
In addition, it’s not enough to have a simplistic and slick looking menu icon; copywriting has an important role to play too. Again, it’s all about making things easy – keep your copy clear, short and concise and it will work alongside your intuitive navigation to get your users where they need to be.
Where you can, consider using images in your navigation to visually demonstrate each category (supermarkets do this particularly well).