Layered Navigation in Magento e-platform

In e-commerce, the process of navigation helps a potential customer to find the necessary product. Usual visitors of online store know this process as searching and they have no idea that it is a complex functionality which should be organized carefully otherwise they will not find what they want. In this article, we will review the principles of the navigation process in Magento e-platforms and present some recommendations that were given by GoMage Company, the team of experts who specialize in Magento development and have created Magento Advanced Navigation extension.


Navigation is a process that allows organizing the characteristics of the online store products in such a way that they could be used as search criteria, and thus, the client could find the desired product quickly and easily. In other words, the client should be able to filter product information using necessary characteristics.

Of course, there are obvious search parameters that are available in each online store. Users can search by price, color, models, brands, and so on. But each store has its own specifics so, in order to choose correct navigation criteria, you need to determine who your customers are, how they prefer to search, what their values are and what words they use to characterize the products.

Let’s review some examples. In a fashion online store, it is not enough to only offer standard colors such as blue, red, green, black etc. as search criteria. The target audience is more sensitive to colors and need such variants like raspberry, lemon, peach colors, monochrome and with ornaments variations. The palette of colors should be extended here. But this criterion is practically not important in auto accessories online store. There, it is more important to give an opportunity to search by type, car model and the year of manufacture.

All products in the online store are divided into categories and each item has certain attributes. Such layered navigation approach is used in Magento e-platform. Correct categorization and assigned attributes allow organizing this process effectively. Here is an example of navigation structure:

  • Category: irons
  • Sub-category: brands of irons (Bosch, Braun, Tefal and so on)
  • Sub-sub-category: iron type (steam irons, steam generator irons, clothes steamers)

Such characteristics as colors, maintenance, security, power, stream flow, sole plate can be the attributes of the products.

To identify whether a certain characteristic should be a category or an attribute, we recommend using the following approach. If you need to have a separate landing page that you are going to promote, it is a category. Otherwise, it is an attribute of a product.

It is a huge mistake to try and create the right navigation structure independently, or copy it from competitors. Always use the opportunity and ask your customers how they are searching, what words they use, and what product features are important to them. Also in Magento platform, it is possible to analyze the customers’ search queries and if necessary, to adjust the navigation process.

There are some ideas about search criteria that can be important for clients:

  • Specific dimensions of products
  • Extended guarantee period (e.g. more than 2 years) and insurance
  • Products with users’ reviews, products in the category with positive reviews
  • Products with free or urgent delivery
  • Promotional products at discounted prices, new products
  • Available products
  • Products with minor defects which can be bought at a discount

In conclusion, it should be noted that the navigation should not be complicated. In any case, the ability to sort products by the most standard parameters such as price or brand should be prominently displayed. Secondary search criteria can be hidden, but if it is necessary, the user should be able to find them easily. Also, it is very important to keep in mind that the situation is changing and, in the course of time, the existing effective process of navigation can become uncomfortable. In order to keep your business successful you should constantly research up-to-date possibilities and improve the functionality of your store.

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