way findingWayfinding is a real world concept that can be applied to the digital world in navigation design.

Wikipedia’s definition of wayfinding: “[It] encompasses all of the ways in which people (and animals) orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.”

Good wayfinding should incorporate the following four components:

  1. Orientation – knowing where you are right now
  2. Route decision – knowing where you want to end up
  3. Route monitoring – knowing if you’re still on course
  4. Destination recognition – knowing that you’ve reached your destination

There are three types of wayfinding behaviour to consider when designing for different users and different goals:

  1. Locate – when someone is looking for something specific
  2. Explore – when someone is looking for something in a particular topic area
  3. Meander – when someone is just browsing

Common Navigation Elements to Help Wayfinding

  • Header which includes the main navigation
    • Static and sticky navigation
    • Mega drop-down navigation
    • Overflow navigation (hamburger menu)
  • Footer
  • Breadcrumbs

A few things to keep in mind when helping users to find their way:

  1. Don’t make them think
  2. Show only what’s needed
  3. Be clear
  4. Make things visible
  5. Use conventions
  6. Be responsive

This is where the KISS acronym comes in handy — always Keep It Simple, Silly!

Assignment

We had to create a mobile website navigation for a small e-commerce company if it sold just one product. I chose to design the mobile navigation for ErgoBaby Carriers.

EgoBaby Carrier Mobile Nav

Stretch Goal Assignment

Here’s the navigation design for desktop-size displays:

ErgoBaby Carrier Desktop Nav