When was the last time you went to a site that you hadn’t visited before and found what you were looking for by using the website’s navigation?
Often even the Contact Us info can be a mystery. I’m screaming at you, Verizon!
Of course, there are plenty of other sites that fall into the same trap of trying to make sure everything is linked to from the main navigation.
But the reality of life is that sites are not going to be able to collect everything their audience might be looking for into a few, nice, easy to sift-through drop-downs.
That’s why site search has become such a valuable tool, especially for sites that can actually search through their site’s content (not all CMSs are created equal…).
On some sites (Verizon, for example…) I have even taken to bouncing back out to Google to let them help me find something on someone’s site, like “Verizon contact”. But Verizon has apparently changed their link structure so often, that not even Google can keep up with it, instead offering me dead link after dead link…
Anyhow, enough bashing, my case is this: Other than the obvious options (Latest News, Contact Us, About Us, etc.), I would argue that website navigation is not as valuable as it once was, and perhaps is not really needed any more. If a site’s content is truly searchable, then what purpose does the navigation serve, to tell your audience what you think they should be looking for?
Thoughts? Is there a reason to continue building full site navigation?