What’s wrong with this picture?
Let’s review what navigation is supposed to let you do. As I explain in “Save the Pixel”, navigation fulfils three purposes simultaneously.
- It should tell you where you are (serving “getability”);
- It should tell you where you can go, and what you can get/do on the site;
- and give you an easy means to get there.
On this site, the 4 main nav items reveal drop-downs that lead to other items. Nothing wrong with that – provided you can guess where to find what you want, without thought.
Where do you think “Contact Us” is in this collection? Go on, you can even think a bit about it.
Nav should be logical. Information Architecture is an advanced discipline because it isn’t that easy (although it should seem easy when it’s finished). Even at this level, the task of arranging everything a site offers into balanced categories that neatly contain it all with minimum crossover or duplication is a challenge, and it’s one that this site fails magnificently.
Getability Doesn’t Work
This nav fails to perform its purposes. It tells you you’re on a “home/connect/interact/engage” site.
What does that mean? So there’s no content on this site? What can I get here? (“Well, my friend, you can get connection, engagement, and interaction”.) Sounds more like a social world than the marketing site & blog of a famous author.
There’s no “getability”. The navigation should work like signage in a store, giving me at least a good feel of the kind of place I’m in just with a sweeping glance around. (Ideally, it should even let me locate the pet food aisle too.)
One of the problems is that this nav design falls into the “floating verbs” trap. Instead of boldly saying exactly what you offer, it’s tempting to get a bit arty and floaty and just put verbs unattached to any actual benefit.
So you get “connect” (with nothing), “interact” (with what?), and “engage” (but with whom?). There’s no actual value to any of these statements. They offer nothing. Connection on its own is meaningless – it only has value when I connect with.