People say there’s a lot of subjectivity in design. And of course there is. But it isn’t all subjective. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years where subjectivity isn’t important.
1. Hamburgers menus suck. We use them, everyone does. But in almost every test, they have scored badly compared to exposed navigation. Even though the hamburger has become ubiquitous, it still impacts usability.
2. Hamburgers suck even more on Desktop. Hidden menus just about make sense on mobile, you sometimes can’t get away from them. But on Desktop, they make little sense. You want users to navigate your site, yet you hide your navigation even though you have space.
3. Centralised Logos. We don’t create sites with centralised logos. A website with a centralised logo might look nicer but on average is 6x harder to navigate. 6 times! Think about that for a minute. The reason i simple. users execpt the logo to be top left.
4. Clear and obvious links. Links are what helps your user navigate through the narrative of your site, learning about you and finding the information they need. Links have a style. Blue and underlined. Recently (-ish) there seems to have been a trend towards blending links into copy, or links with only a subtle difference from the body copy, or links with poor accessibility. Other things are when link styles are very similar or almost the same to other elements, for example, a label. All of these things impact the usability of your site. The harder you make a link to find, the hard you are making your content to discover.
This is the constant battle between UX and UI. Sometimes what looks nice isn’t always what works best or delivers the outcome. But of course where there are rules, there are reasons to break the rules.
For example, this site uses a Desktop Hamburger. Why?
Well when were doing the research for our site we realised we could answer most questions people ask on the homepage. So the hamburger is designed to increase dwell time on the homepage – essentially to discourage navigation to the less important ‘about us’ and ‘why us’ pages. And it works. We have significant dwell time on the home page and most people navigate though in-page links and not through the primary navigation.
But it is the exception that proves the rule and by understanding your users. It shows the hamburger makes navigation harder and we have a use case that supports that. We’re unlikely to recommend it to a client, unless they have a similar use case.
So what do you think? Agree? Disagree?