Web Navigation Problem?

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Filed under: Onlines

Web Navigation Problem?

In writing copy for a client’s website today, and in working with our own website, I am facing a navigation problem: what one of Canright’s designers refers to as “floating pages.” These are pages that do not appear in the site’s main navigation but are important content pages.

One example on our site is the “Treasury Management Communication” page. It’s a special industry page, and because we do not have an “Industry” section in our navigation, it hangs in the site. I primarily send it as a link in emails, and last week I gave the URL out over the phone.

A client site I am working on has a number of pages like that. We have the main navigation items each clicking through to a landing page with general information. The items in the drop-down menu on the home page go to more specific content pages. We then have links within the content that lead to what we’re calling “floating pages.” They’re not quite “orphan pages,” as they are linked to and from other pages, but they’re also not found in any navigation or menu.

Are they a problem?

Many designers maintain a general rule of thumb called the “three-click rule”: a visitor should be able to get to any page on a site within three clicks. As long as one can find a page within three clicks, perhaps it is not so problematic to have pages not in any sort of formal navigational menu.

What do you think?

For more on web design trends, see “What’s Next in Web Design,” an article from the design firm Information Architects. This article does not specifically address the navigational problem above, but it comes close in tending to prefer the simple over the complex.