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Why Deepak Chopra’s New Navigation Fails

Screengrab of Deepak Chopra's navigation

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.

No Guessability

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.)

Floating Verbs

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.

 

 

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben is the creator of Web Design From Scratch. He started writing articles about web design to kill time on a long train commute, and is now one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written three books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.