Like many Brooklynites, my car is largely ornamental. Sure, we drive it once a week to buy groceries, but mostly I get around by bike or subway.
So when I drove to a conference in New Jersey last week, it was a different kind of driving — and got me thinking about websites.
New Jersey has a unique approach to highway signs: the really important roads, like the New Jersey Turnpike, have logos rather than spelled out names.
The trouble with NJ highway logos
The New Jersey Turnpike has this charmingly retro logo:
The Garden State Parkway has a logo as well:
Of course, if you drive in New Jersey often, this is not a problem. But if you are not familiar with the logos, and have to take time to interpret them, you may experience a moment of confusion followed by some alarming cross-lane maneuvers.
Website navigation: be clear
Visitors to your website are like speeding Brooklynites in New Jersey. They are in a hurry, and will have trouble figuring out a confusing navigation system on the fly. If they get frustrated — and we are talking seconds here — they will leave your website.
Website navigation is not where you want to be creative — instead, be clear. We suggest you use simple, obvious, widely understood page names like About Us, or Contact Us. And place your navigation menu where your visitor expects to see it. A horizontal menu goes near the top of your page. A vertical menu goes on the left side. And don’t use logos!
That way, you are making it easy for your speeding visitor to slow down and take a look around.
FACT OF THE MONTH
A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.