You have only a couple of seconds to impress users and arouse their interest on a website. It is essential that a good first impression is made and that the necessary information is presented to the users. Top web developers know this and therefore, carefully structure the website, create the most appropriate layout based on the volume of content and plan new ways to capture the attention of potential visitors. Every one of them is a potential customer for the brand or company to which the website belongs.
In the layout organized by web developers, there are some basic and important sections that the vast majority of websites contain. One of these sections is the header. But if you still have doubts, in this article we define “header”, and we clarify why it is a relevant section in website design.
What does a header mean?
In the field of web design, the term header refers to the top of a web page. It is a really valuable section of any web page as users notice it for a few seconds, before scrolling down. And even in some cases, the header remains visible no matter how much the user moves down. So, as you can see, it is an important element for any website.
The header usually contains the sections in which the website is divided, as well as other essential information about the product or service. These data can be understood immediately and serve as a guide for users so that they can navigate the site easily. In some cases, the header is also called the “navigation bar” or “menu.” But it is also possible that the header contains a kind of welcome banner. This is a common element in blogs or another type of site where you want to add an additional message, either as a welcome for visitors or to get their attention.
What are the elements that a header usually contains?
As we have already mentioned, the headers can contain a series of relevant elements such as:
- Logo, tag line, pet or other basic components of brand identity
- Links to the main sections of the site
- Essential contact information (phone number, email, address, etc.)
- Search field
- Links to social networks where the company is located
- The field for newsletter subscription
- Links to official mobile applications for iOS and Android
As you can see, there is a wide variety of elements that can be included in the header, but it does not imply that they should all be added in a single header. First of all, there would not be enough space to include all these elements, and if you add many, the user would not know which one to focus on. It is important that as a developer, you distinguish what are the really necessary elements so as to have a good header design. For example, in the case of an online store, it is essential that you have the shopping cart icon, so that users can easily access it.
Although only the essential elements are placed, it is helpful to know the great variety of components that can be added in a header. In the vast majority of cases, the elements that are always placed in a header are the logo and links to the sections of the site. However, in some specific circumstances, the header is minimized, such as the case of the hamburger menu.
Why is the header so important?
The header is an element that is considered essential in the design of a web page. The first reason is quite obvious: it is a resource that contains other critical navigation components. As we have already seen, in some instances, the header is even known as a “navigation bar” and this is an important component so that the user can go to any section of the website without major difficulties.
The other reason is to study the patterns and habits of users today. On the first visit, it is common for people to quickly review the site, although they have access to all content, they try to find out if such content is really relevant to them. For this reason, designers strive to make a good first impression and develop strategies to capture the attention of users and make them stay longer on the site. Often, the visit time is an indicator of the success of your site because the longer they remain, the more likely they are to become users or buyers.
It is a known fact that users often review a website in the form of the letter F or Z. In both cases, it starts horizontally from the top of the page, where the header is usually placed. Due to the elements, it can contain, it is a component that allows you to present essential information to the user and improve the user experience through well-structured navigation. Users can access this information immediately, which allows them to have a basic idea about the company and what they can find in reference to the same structure of the website.
Now that you know what a “header” means, the common elements that it may contain, and the importance of this component, you can begin to design this element properly and pay due attention to your future web design projects.
Harnil Oza is CEO of Hyperlink InfoSystem, a mobile app development company in New York and India, having a team of the top app developers who deliver the best mobile solutions mainly on Android and iOS platforms. He regularly contributes his knowledge on leading blogging sites.