Search might be what brings people to your site, but navigation often has to step in to get them to the exact location they need. Research suggests that about 10% of all tasks fail because of issues with navigation. There are two things that navigation elements are used for. The most obvious is for moving around the site. The other thing is to help visitors understand where they are within the site and what else the site offers. In other words, help with getting situated within the site. When people look at a web page, they use several different elements to work out whether they're in a place that can help them or not. They will look at the site's name and anything in the header area like a tag line.
They will look at any images on the page to see if those are relevant. They will glance the information on the page and that information could be either the headings or the navigation menus looking for suitable words that indicate they're on the right path. They might well look at navigation elements like the main menu structure, breadcrumbs, related link sections, and so on to see whether these provide clues as to what else the site offers. Once people have worked out where they are they will probably also want to check out other areas of the site. Now the main navigation menu and related links sections come into their own. So depending on their task visitors might use any combination of the navigational elements to first situate themselves and then look for the content they need. Or to quickly realize that they are on the wrong site and they go elsewhere.
It's important to give some serious thought to how you will structure the content on your site preferably before you've even added any.
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