The Psychology Behind Great Menu Navigation: How to Keep Users Engaged and Happy

Your menu navigation is critical for people being able to get where they need to go and can make or break the user experience. Just think about your behavior when you land on a website that has a busy navigation. Do you get frustrated? Do you bounce? 

Time to review your own navigation to see if it’s serving your users or causing them to leave without donating. 

Understand User Behavior and Preferences

It’s all about user experince and what they need, not you! Think about what they are looking for so they can get their easily. Use words that they would understand instead of cutsey terms. When you really understand the journey people take on your website you can prioritize what goes in your main navigation. Remember that once they get to those pages you can continue to guide them with calls-to-action (CTAs) on those pages.

Here’s a grea tway to test. Think about the priorities you have for your organization. Then ask someone if they can find that information from your navigation. If it is simple and easy then you’ve done your job. The beauty of a menu is it is very easy to change, no matter the platform your website is built on.

Simplify Navigation Labels and Hierarchy

To ensure that your website’s menu navigation aligns well with user behavior and preferences, it’s important to simplify navigation labels and hierarchy. When labels are clear and easy to understand, users can quickly find what they’re looking for, without getting lost or frustrated. Hierarchy, meanwhile, helps to organize the menu navigation in a logical manner, making it easier for users to follow. Try and keep your menu to less than 7 items and remember that our eyes are drawn to the outside elements.

To further enhance navigation, consider using visual cues, like icons or color coding, to help highlight important sections or pages. This can be especially useful in highlighting your donation page. 

Finally, minimize dropdowns. They are harder to use on mobile devices and most people are accessing your website from their phones. They also give people many options which can be overwhelming. 

Align Navigation with Business Goals

The menu can be a great way to guide people to the right place and the action you most want them to take. It should guide users to specific sections or pages that align with your business objectives. Therefore, it’s essential to implement navigation strategies that are in line with your business goals.

To ensure that your website’s menu navigation aligns with business goals, you need to consider the following steps. First, identify the primary goals of your website. Is it to get donations, generate leads, or for brand awarness or cause awarness? Once you’ve identified your goals, determine which pages on your website contribute the most to these goals. Make sure these pages are prominently displayed in your navigation. Again, remember that this can be changed throughout the year as your priorities change.

In some cases, you may have multiple goals for your website, such as getting donations and awareness for your services. If this is the case, you’ll need to prioritize your goals and structure your navigation accordingly. For example, you could create an announcement bar above your menu to call out another priority. Or create a secondary menu to highlight more items.

By aligning your website’s navigation with your business goals, you can make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and take desired actions. This, in turn, can increase conversions, improve visitor satisfaction, and ultimately boost your website’s success.

Use Visual Cues to Guide Users

Visual cues can be incredibly helpful in guiding users to the information they’re looking for on your website. For starters, simply using different colors or fonts for your clickable links can make them stand out more, drawing attention to the most important areas of your site. Additionally, icons or images can be used to represent different categories or pages, making it easier for users to quickly understand the purpose of each link. If you’re using icons or images, make sure they are universally understandable so people know where they’re going and what to expect on those pages.

Beyond these basic visual cues, you can also use more advanced techniques like drop-down menus or hover-over effects to further guide users’ navigation. These can be especially helpful for websites with a lot of content, as they allow users to easily see all their options without feeling overwhelmed. Be very selective with these options as they can get out of hand quickly. Drop downs should ONLY be used if the pages under there are also critically important to the goals of your website.

Of course, it’s important to strike a balance when using these visual cues. Too many can be distracting or confusing, while too few can make it difficult for users to navigate your site. By testing different approaches and analyzing user behavior, you can find the right balance for your specific website and audience.

Monitor and Analyze User Activity

By tracking how users interact with your navigation, you can gain valuable insights into their preferences and behavior. For example, you might notice that users tend to click on certain categories more frequently, or that they tend to use the search bar more often than the dropdown menus. Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions about how to optimize your navigation to better meet your users’ needs. A great way to see how people are interacting with your navigation, and website in general, is HotJar.

Analyzing user activity can also be a great way to determine what should be in your menu navigation. Reviewing your analytics to see what pages are being visited most often will help you determine the organization of your website and navigation.

In addition to monitoring user activity, it’s also important to solicit feedback directly from your users. By asking for user input and incorporating their suggestions, you can create a navigation experience that truly meets their needs and preferences.


In today’s fast-paced digital world, users have high expectations for website navigation. To keep them engaged and happy, you must understand their behavior and preferences. Simplify your navigation labels and hierarchy, use visual cues, monitor and analyze user activity, and align navigation with business goals. Effective menu navigation can make or break a user’s experience on your website. Remember, “the road to a satisfied user is paved with good menu navigation.” So, take action and optimize your website today!

Pin It on Pinterest