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Typography lends itself to providing direction. As a designer, it is your responsibility to lead the viewer logically through content or information. Type is a perfect tool because it is naturally sequential. We have an alphabet that's sequential, we have numbers that are sequential, and we have symbols like arrows that are directional. These are typical navigational devices. Let's look at a few print and screen-based examples. In the print environment, studies have shown that people look at the table of contents more than any other page in a magazine, book, or newspaper.
We keep referring back to it because it's our roadmap to the content. In addition to page numbers and titles, this table of contents has a color coded key, delineating sections by subject matter, that is a secondary level of navigation. The humble arrow is the most universally recognized directional or navigational device, you see it everywhere, you know immediately what it is. On the web we have become accustomed to navigation by clicking links, most of which are typographic.
A good site makes those links highly visible and obvious, and provides multiple links to jump from screen to screen in more than one place. Navigation on tablet devices is gestural. We tap with our fingers rather than clicking with a mouse. We are often tapping on a link or an icon that features text. But the Touch Screen has given us many new ways to navigate using gestures, double tapping, flicking, pinching, and dragging.
Navigation is all about smooth transitions and clarity. As a designer, your goal is to provide reassurance and comfort to your viewer to make the intended pathway as clear as possible.
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