Online retailers should work on their navigational menus to make them as usable as possible following research suggesting some of the UK’s biggest brands fail to do this.

This is according to Mihkel Jaatma of eye-tracking technology firm, who wrote on the E-consultancy blog that the usability of a top-level menu can have a significant impact on how long it takes users to find what they want.

He cited research by his company showing that Debenhams’s simple menu, which takes the form of a horizontal bar split into links for each of its departments, means that users take an average of 6.6 seconds to click on the link they need.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer’s bulky list-based menu is harder to navigate, leading to a 13.7-second click time.

Mr Jaatma said: "Forcing people to interact with too much information upfront significantly decreases important performance indicators such as success rate, time to completion and user satisfaction."

A number of the UK’s biggest retailers operate websites that do not conform to average accessibility standards, a research project conducted by Sitemorse for Retail Bulletin found earlier this year.

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