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I am a freelance user interface designer based in Greece. Having studied Social Sciences and Philosophy, I believe that a proper philosophy of language is crucial to any well-designed social or digital information system.
My main areas of expertise are: Interaction Design, Information Architecture, Empathy, Usability, Nomenclature.
Having addressed the information architecture and the various systems of navigation in the first two articles of this series, the last step is to efficiently simplify the navigation experience — specifically, by carefully designing interaction with the navigation menu.
When designing interaction with any type of navigation menu, we have to consider symbols, target areas, interaction event, layout, levels, functional context. It is possible to design these aspects in different ways. Designers often experiment with new techniques to create a more exciting navigation experience. And looking for new, more engaging solutions is a very good thing.
How do we make navigation as simple and predictable as possible? As explained in part 1 of this series, the first two steps are to structure content in a way that naturally narrows the navigation options, and to explain those options in a way that minimizes the cognitive load on users.
However, two more steps are required — namely, to choose the right type of navigation menu, and then to design it. The second part of this series addresses the third step and discusses which type of navigation menu is best suited to which content.
Navigation, as crucial as it is to the user experience, is merely a means to an end — the end being to consume content. This is why users have very contrasting expectations about content and navigation. While content is supposed to be unique, surprising and exciting, navigating to it is supposed to be as simple and predictable as possible.
This series of articles, divided into two parts, is a four-step guide to efficiently simplifying the navigation experience, by analyzing the type and amount of content as well as choosing and carefully designing the right type of navigation menu.
The key statement of Fitts’s Law is that the time required to move a pointing device to a target is a function of the distance to the target and its size. In layman’s terms: the closer and larger a target, the faster it is to click on that target. This is easy to understand, not too difficult to implement and it doesn’t seem to make much sense to contradict such a simple and obvious statement.
However, before you start applying Fitts’s Law on every single pixel you can find, consider a few problems that might arise for you as an interaction designer.