One of the most well-known principles in web design is the “3 clicks rule”, which states that users must be able to find what they are looking for in three clicks or less. In theory, this reduces the user’s frustration and makes it more likely for them to stay on the website. With the rapidly diminishing attention span of the average internet user, this seems like a perfectly reasonable guideline.
Many feel, though, that the rule is too restrictive and that designers should not blindly adhere to it. Several studies have shown that it is acceptable to go above three clicks, especially if these clicks were a well thought-out and intuitive design choice. Most people only experience frustration when navigation becomes confusing and unnecessarily tedious.
Generally speaking, the basic idea of simplifying website navigation is still a solid one. But is that also true for e-commerce websites? The mentality of a person looking for information is often very different from a shopper, so this is something worth looking into.
Simple Navigation: A Key Part of e-commerce Web Design?
When it comes to effective e-commerce design, most web designers in Fort Lauderdale and throughout the country know that their primary goal is to get the sale. But the three clicks rule might actually be detrimental in this case; for a store with a wide variety of products to make everything accessible in three clicks, they usually cannot group their items into more specific categories.
This makes it difficult for shoppers to narrow their search down to the items they are actually interested in, which can lead to mounting frustration as they browse through irrelevant products. So making navigation too simple will actually hurt the website’s usability, if the designer does not take care. Like many other aspects, this is a delicate balancing act.
In the end, the common web design rules are simply guidelines that many successful websites still break. Every case is different, and the most important thing is to build the website with the user’s needs and preferences in mind.