What is a signposting page?
Web users are usually on a mission to either complete a task or get the answer to a question. A signposting page, also known as a pathway or gateway page, is a form of navigation – they’re web pages between the homepage and the information pages, which help users get to the content they’re looking for. Signposting pages, like road signs, are obvious cues which guide us to our destination.
Top tips for signposting pages
- Signposting pages should be simple with minimal content other than links and perhaps a summary or introduction.
- There’s no need for much copy – users are unlikely to read in much detail until they get to the information page.
- Lists work well as a way of clearly displaying links on signposting pages.
- Links should have descriptive names that are meaningful to the intended audience – containing the keywords or phrases that the user might be looking for.
- Signposting pages can use visual design elements or simply be text based with links. What’s important is to make sure the page is scannable so users can quickly move on to the next page.
So let’s look at some examples…
I think Gov.uk do signposting pages really well. They’re clear and simple. Say I’m an A-level student and I want to find out about student finance. On the Gov.uk homepage I selected Education and Learning and from there was taken to this signposting page which makes it very clear where I need to go next.
Let’s say I’m a University of Bradford student looking for information on how to change course. From the Student Services homepage I select the ‘Courses and Study’ category page, from there I get this signposting page which points me in the direction of the information that I need – via the ‘Changing course’ link.
This page simply has a summary and links. It’s purpose is to provide an overview and help users to quickly navigate to what they’re looking for.
This page adopts a visual approach – rather than a bullet list, image buttons are used instead. Appropriate (not decorative images) can help users understand what’s behind a link.
Some other things to consider
A user could land on any page on your site, including a signposting page, so those pages need to make sense out of context.
- Write a descriptive page title.
- Include a concise summary if needed.
- Make sure links are clearly categorised and labelled.