Navigational Continuity

Maintaining navigational continuity is an easy way to make your app more usable – it might seem like a small thing – but done wrong it can work against you.

Basically the rule is this; any link or button text should align directly with the corresponding landing-place or action. (This includes any rollover or tool-tip text for an element itself.) When your link and destination don’t match, you are forcing your user to understand the difference – or worse you are eroding their trust with something that feels like “bait and switch”.

It’s a simple rule, but one that is ignored often, sometimes for good reasons*. Look for it when you are doing code review and add it to your test cases. Get everyone in the habit of looking for it – and talking about it.

*Often the problem stems from trying to shorten the link/button text because there is just not enough room.  Need a way to get a decision quickly that everyone can agree with? Try this 15 min. workshop leveraging a group to make quick decisions, it’s a great fast workshop that reinforces your process and can be a team builder.

Then do some quick user testing using a simple poll to see if your users agree.

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