Using website navigation to establish website hierarchy

Using website navigation to establish website hierarchy

Using Website Navigation to Establish Website Hierarchy


Website hierarchy is a crucial aspect of web design that helps users navigate through a website and understand its structure. Effective website navigation serves as a powerful tool for establishing and communicating website hierarchy. By strategically organizing and designing navigation menus, website owners can guide users through different levels of content and create a clear and intuitive user experience. In this article, we will explore how website navigation can be used to establish website hierarchy and enhance usability.

Creating Clear and Intuitive Menus:

Main Navigation Menu

The main navigation menu is the primary element for establishing website hierarchy. It typically appears at the top of the webpage and provides users with an overview of the website’s main sections or categories. The main navigation menu should be concise, featuring only the essential sections that represent the primary focus of the website. Clear and intuitive labels for each menu item help users understand the content they can expect to find within each section, facilitating navigation and establishing a hierarchical structure.

Submenus and Dropdown Menus

Submenus and dropdown menus are valuable tools for establishing a hierarchical structure within the main navigation menu. When a section has multiple subcategories or pages, using submenus allows website owners to organize content and guide users through different levels of information. Submenus can be accessed by hovering over or clicking on a main navigation item, revealing a dropdown list of related subcategories or pages. This hierarchy helps users understand the relationships between different sections and subcategories, providing a clear path to navigate deeper into the website.

Utilizing Breadcrumbs:

Displaying User Location

Breadcrumbs are a navigational aid that displays the user’s location within the website hierarchy. They typically appear near the top of a webpage, indicating the path that users have taken to arrive at the current page. Breadcrumbs help users understand their position within the website structure, providing context and assisting with navigation. By displaying the hierarchical path, users can easily backtrack or navigate to higher-level pages. Breadcrumbs are particularly useful for websites with deep hierarchies or complex navigation structures.

Enhanced User Understanding

Breadcrumbs enhance user understanding of website hierarchy by visually representing the relationship between different levels of content. They act as a navigational aid, providing a sense of orientation and helping users comprehend the structure of the website. Breadcrumbs also allow users to quickly jump back to higher-level pages, enabling efficient navigation and reducing the need to rely solely on the main navigation menu. Overall, breadcrumbs contribute to a more intuitive and user-friendly browsing experience.

Structuring Footer Navigation:

Secondary Navigation in the Footer

While the main navigation menu typically appears at the top of the webpage, the footer provides an additional opportunity to establish website hierarchy. The footer navigation serves as secondary navigation and can feature links to important pages, categories, or additional resources. This secondary navigation can mirror the main navigation or offer a condensed version that provides an overview of the website’s structure. Footer navigation adds another layer of hierarchy and enables users to access important content even when they have scrolled to the bottom of the page.

Quick Access to Essential Information

Footer navigation offers quick access to essential information, such as contact details, privacy policy, terms of service, or FAQs. By including these important links in the footer, website owners ensure that users can easily find and access critical information, regardless of their location on the website. Footer navigation not only enhances website hierarchy but also improves user trust and credibility by providing transparency and easy access to important resources.

Utilizing Internal Links:

Internal Links for Hierarchical Flow

Internal linking is a powerful strategy for establishing website hierarchy and guiding users through different levels of content. By strategically incorporating internal links within the website’s pages and content, website owners can create a hierarchical flow that connects related information and guides users from one page to another. Internal links allow users to navigate within the website seamlessly, promoting engagement and providing a clear path to follow.

Related Content Recommendations

Internal links can also be used to recommend related content to users, further establishing website hierarchy. By linking related articles, products, or pages, website owners can guide users to explore relevant content and discover additional information within the same hierarchical context. This strategy not only enhances user experience but also increases user engagement and encourages users to spend more time on the website.


Website navigation serves as a crucial tool for establishing website hierarchy and enhancing usability. Through clear and intuitive menus, the use of submenus and dropdowns, breadcrumbs, structured footer navigation, and strategic internal linking, website owners can guide users through different levels of content and create a clear and intuitive user experience. By establishing website hierarchy through navigation, websites become easier to navigate, improve user engagement, and provide a more intuitive browsing experience. Prioritizing effective navigation design and establishing website hierarchy ultimately leads to increased user satisfaction and a more successful website.

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