As mobile internet usage increases, designers and developers continue to explore mobile navigation usability and establish best practices.
Navigation needs to look good, yes. But it also needs to promote engagement, provide an intuitive way for visitors to get around your website and find the information they need. Mobile navigation doesn’t just apply to your main menu. It also covers all other ways users click through information, including sliders, maps, and other content.
Navigation should be simple and consistent allowing users to learn how to use your site. It should also employ known symbols and common words or signifiers so that what a user learns on another site can help him or her navigate your site.
For example, the “hamburger” menu: This three-line icon has become a universal symbol indicating a mobile menu is present. Choosing something other than that, can be confusing.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get creative, but don’t sacrifice usability for aesthetics.
For more on mobile navigation patterns and creative ways to improve the user experience, read Nick Babich’s article “The Most Creative Mobile Navigation Patterns.”