The other day we were discussing techniques for improving site conversions. Many people have made the analogy between a website and a brick and mortar store. In the physical store all the fixtures, aisles, shelving, products, and signage are placed with a purpose – to attract attention, increase interest, create desire and make a sale (or get a lead). The layout is designed to make sure that the visitor navigates in a way that will accomodate the store owners objectives. Obviously many B2B and ecommerce websites have the exact same objectives.
This led me to ask a question: Do drop down menus defeat the goal of making sure that the visitor navigates the site in a way that enhances conversions?
If, for instance, we have a “Products” link on the home page and drop downs for individual products do we encourage the visitor to jump to a product page before getting the important messages we may have placed on the “product home page”? Maybe that’s ok because we are allowing the visitor to find exactly what they want (or think they want) more quickly. Or, have lost an opportunity to provide a more important message and guide them to a different solution which will be more appropriate (or compelling)? I’m not sure I know the answer so I thought I’d post this little survey and ask what you thought.