1. Site navigation elements should be designed around the purpose of the website.
Too often web development shops let the latest buzzword de jour get in the way of common sense when designing the navigation elements.
One of the popular and misused buzzwords today related to navigation is that the navigation should be "Mobile Ready". Before that came the edict that navigation should be a "Familiar Dashboard Interface". Previous to that was the "Everywhere In Two Clicks" movement and before that the "Everywhere In One Click" was popular.
Let's not forget frames vs. no frames of the mid to late 90's.
Without fail, each new trend bore witness to great designs that took the spirit of the discoveries and used them in places that made sense, but also without fail it brought weekend developers out of the wood work that would push an idea because it was "new" regardless of whether it was appropriate.
Each trend builds on the growing sophistication of the users that are part of the the trend, but not to the exclusion of the knowledge that was gained in previous trends.
Each navigational concept that comes down the pipe should be investigated thoroughly for its appropriateness in a given project.
We go through an exhaustive discovery process with each of our customers to make sure that we understand the purpose of their project and provide recommendations based on all of our collective experience. We make sure that we pay attention to the seamingly obvious truth that a site navigation should reflect the purpose of the website.
To be sure we have many "Mobile Ready" navigation systems and for each one we made sure that we understood all of the reasons why "Mobile Ready" made sense for those projects. We also have sites in every other category. The difference between our approach is that we don't assume that the latest buzzword applies until we explore the individual needs of each customer.
A future post will deal with another obvious truth: Sites should use technology that is accessible to the masses.