From GUUUI we read the following
Most web development projects put a lot of effort into the design of navigation tools. But fact is that people tend to ignore these tools. They are fixated on getting what they came for and simply click on links or hit the back button to get there. Read the entire article.
Why weren’t we surprised? Could be that in 2001 our very own lovable persuasion guru Bryan Eisenberg wrote the following…
Clearly, the center area of the screen is prime real estate, the “active window” where you will either succeed or fail in persuading your visitor. This is the first place your visitor makes a conscious effort to engage with you. When her gaze returns across the screen from its preliminary scan, you want to make sure you present content that will capture her interest and motivate her through the conversion process. If anything on the page distracts her or requires her to disconnect from the center area, she is that much less likely to stay, rapt by your powers of persuasion. And if you’ve learned the Stanford-Poynter lesson, you’ll understand that your copy is much more important than your images. (from the article Where Oh Where Did My Eyeballs Go?)
If you are truly focused on persuading folks on your site put the time and effort you are tempted to put into navigation and focus it on the ‘active window’. Navigation is important, just not as important as everyone seems to think.
The shortest distance between your customers and conversion is not the navigation, it’s the embedded links in the active window.
From May 2001 Bryan also wrote…
But from our work with clients, we’ve discovered that the navigation scheme important to actually closing more sales is the embedded-links scheme. And it’s very easy to implement. Within the body of your (great) copy, you simply place links to the places you want prospects to go next. Of course, what works best on your site can be determined only by testing. And, naturally, embedded links are only one component of a complete navigation structure.
If embedded links are done well (a topic for another article), they will engage your users effectively as they browse within the “active window” of your site. The active window is the main area of your page, underneath or to the side of your main navigation. It is where you place your body text, display your products, and present your offer. It is also where you want to keep your visitors’ eyes focused. If you properly engage them in this area by providing the right choices to click on, you persuade them to follow the path you want them to take. This is also why it is very important to keep a consistent look and feel around the active window. Read the entire article.
Ok, what are todays magic words?
I’ll give you a hint.
It starts with an ‘active, and ends with a ‘window.’