# Effective website navigation helps navigating non-psychical space

Navigating a website is difficult because we don't get the same sense of direction, scale, or location that we would otherwise do in a physical space. For example, when you visit a website with 1000 web pages, you wouldn't know that they have 1000 web pages. When you visit a supermarket in contrast, you'd know how big or small the building, and you can even estimate how many products they might be selling. If page numbers or table of contents are missing in a book, you'd still have a good idea of how thick the book is and where you are.

Unlike physical space, a website is not inherently navigable. Website navigation is an element that needs to be intentionally designed, which not only to provide a means for users to use their spatial ability to work out where they, but also to allow them to find what they're looking for quickly (Websites should be designed for scanning).

# References

Krug, Don’t make me think (p. 61).

But the Web experience is missing many of the cues we've relied on all our lives to negotiate spaces. Consider these oddities of Web space:

  • No sense of scale [...]
  • No sense of direction [...]
  • No sense of location [...]

Krug, Don’t make me think (p. 64).

Physical spaces like cities and buildings (and even information spaces like books and magazine) have their own navigation systems, with conventions that have evolved over time like street signs, page numbers, and chapter titles. The conventions specify (loosely) the appearance and location of the navigation elements so we know what to look for and where to look when we need them.

Krug, Don’t make me think (p. 74).

Page names are the street signs of the Web. Just as with street signs, where things are going well I may not notice page names at all. [...]