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Is a Minimal Navigation Bar Beneficial for User Experience?
Jonathan Rodriguez
November 19, 2020

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One of the most important aspects of web design is the navigation menu. The navigation menu is usually in the form of buttons that users can click on to take them to different pages on a website. Another popular way of navigation in web design is minimal navigation. Minimal navigation comes in the form of a navigation bar represented by a hamburger looking icon on a web page. Minimal design has become a bit of a trend in recent years, and it seems like many websites are adopting it. 

Why is it so popular all of a sudden? Can you use it for every website that you develop? Let’s dive in a bit and learn about minimal navigation.

Minimal Navigation in Web Design

Minimal navigation in web design is a trend that has seen a recent surge in popularity. The main reason for this is that one of the goals of web designers is to make sure that the website is easy to navigate through to provide a seamless and simple user experience. With minimal navigation, they can do just that. 

With minimal navigation, you can make a beautiful website and keep it as clutter-free as possible. This applies especially to a website’s menu and navigation. In this case, less is more. Many websites can benefit from using minimal navigation in their design. There are also websites where that should not be the case. It is important to know what website you are working on so you can accurately gauge if they could provide a better user experience with minimal navigation.

Benefits of Minimal Navigation

Using minimal navigation in the design of a website can prove beneficial, depending on the website, of course. If minimal navigation is deemed useful to the website, then it can reap some of the benefits that come with it. 

Here are the benefits of minimal navigation on a website:

It Has Become The Standard

You have been living under a rock if you haven’t noticed how much minimal navigation has been implemented on websites recently. Due largely to the widespread usage of mobile devices, users now want a simple way to navigate a website. If your website has the same desktop navigation experience when someone is browsing on their mobile device, the chances are that they might not want to engage with your website and will likely leave it. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly when designing it. 

Clears Up More Room on the Website

One of the best benefits of using a minimal navigation design is that it helps free up more room on your home page. Instead of using many navigation texts and buttons, you can put one simple minimal navigation bar to hold them in. It will only open when a user clicks on it or hovers over it. This leaves you with more room for design on your home page and maybe other pages as well. 

More Appealing to Some Users

A minimal navigation design on a website can look much more appealing than one with a more traditional navigation design. This can grasp the user’s attention and can potentially lead them to spend more time on your website.  

More Calls-to-Action

The usage of minimal navigation bars or buttons can provide users on your website with more calls to action. Creating a website that helps guide users through their website journey can encourage them to learn more about your business and lead to a sale. It can help you focus on the key stages and interactions a user has on your website.

Using minimal navigation can benefit some websites, but not all of them.

When Not to Use Minimal Navigation

Some websites should not be designed with minimal navigation in mind. Minimal navigation shouldn’t be used as a one size fits all approach. Instead, it should be on an individual website basis. Here is when not to use minimal navigation. 

Trying to Optimize SEO

A minimal design website usually means that there will be less text on pages, especially on the home page. It may make a website not rank as highly on search engines as a result. Search engine indexes might have a hard time analyzing and understanding the web site’s content if there is only a small amount of text. 

Prioritizing Content

From the user’s perspective, any content displayed on navigation buttons is content that they deem very important. This causes a bit of an issue on the minimal design side of website design. With a minimal navigation bar, the content may be hidden, confusing the user, and they might not know where to go. This can lead to a lot of your content just being missed. 

The Goal is Engagement

Building off your content being less prioritized, minimal design can also decrease your website’s engagement rate. If your users don’t know where they should go on a website, then your minimal navigation bar might not see much interaction. Fewer clicks mean fewer views for your content and less potential for conversions. 

Guide Your Users

Sometimes, minimal navigation design can lead to users just clicking out of your website if they don’t know where to go. Your website’s user experience might become less than great if users end up frustrated and confused. 

Like how some websites can benefit from having a minimal navigation design, some might want to stick with traditional navigation. It all depends on what is being prioritized for each website and what their goals are. That is why you have to look at websites on a case-by-case basis, as not all of them will benefit from a minimal navigation design.

Minimal navigation isn’t for every website. The websites that can use it though, could benefit a lot from it. Who knows. Maybe your website could benefit from minimal navigation as well. If you need help designing your website and deciding between minimal navigation, get started with us today!

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