What Makes Good Website Navigation - Information Scent

How users navigate your website is crucial: navigation is the first point of interaction. This means that making your top line navigation labels stand out to attract users attention is key. To accomplish this, we are strong believers in information scent theory.

So what is information scent theory? When a user visits your website, they'll have a specific goal in mind and will head straight to the label that may contain the answer. This is similar behaviour to an animal foraging for prey.

For example, a lion is put into the middle of an open space and their instinct is to smell out their prey and head in the direction of the 'smell' of the potential lunch. The stronger the scent, the less likely the lion is to stray away from the path. It's the the same for website users. If they believe their goal content is under a certain label of your main navigation, they will head straight to that area.


When we look at navigational website, we like to think that we know where we are going. What I like to do is basically look at something called information scent theory. Information scent theory comes from information foraging theory, for example if you drop a lion in the jungle the first thing it’s going to do is sniff the air for food and head off in one direction and go straight towards that target. It’s the same when we users come to a website so if somebodies looking for a particular piece of gold content or to get in touch then they look at that top level navigation and head off in that direction, it’s very very simpler. So you’ve just got to make sure that you’ve got that labeling right from the first instance that people come onto the website so they can get to that gold content quickly and easy.