When you see a good website, you realize it uses a combination of different elements in design, navigation, content, and functionality. Now, having a business website has become the center of attention because a large number of people rely on the internet for information. However, not just any website will do to attract and retain eyeballs. It’s crucial that you create a user-friendly website for your target audience. So, what makes a website user-friendly?
Simply put, a user-friendly website is one that is intuitive, engaging, and not overly complicated. From the point of view of building a strong online presence, creating a user-friendly website can help improve your business’s performance and boost sales.
Bear in mind that ignoring the benefits that a professional website design agency brings to the table is no longer an option in this digitalized age. If you have a business website, you typically expect your target audience to flood its gates every day. The question then becomes, have its creators paid due attention to user-friendly website design? If not, the following tips might help you in improving your website’s user experience.
1. Provide Comprehensive Readable Content
Content will always be king. This is because you need good content on your website to convince your audience. If you deliver content that is fresh, readable, and interactive, you’re on your way to making your site friendlier for its users.
Make Your Content Easy to Scan
This does not refer to scanning a website using a physical scanner. It’s about scanning with your eyes. Internet users always skim through content on a site and they don’t read every word they see. This means you need to keep your paragraphs short, like this one.
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You may adopt newspaper column formatting as it makes scanning easier. Use paragraphs, bullets, lists, headings, and subheadings to help break the text down. This makes it easy for your audience to get the important points. Adding images to break the monotony of text blocks is always a good idea.
Use Color Schemes to Bring Contrast
It’s very important to find the right balance between a website’s background and its content. It is a basic task but among the most crucial. If there is no contrast, it might be a bit difficult to read the content. When selecting your color schemes, make sure your content is visible. Pay special attention to the color of text on black backgrounds to address any possible readability issues.
Use White Space
If you wish to highlight elements and make them prominent, you might want to consider the use of white space. Crowded pages can lead to users not finding the information they seek. White space will work positively in giving your content some breathing space. While web design trends have changed significantly over the past decade, it is still not extravagant to have lots of white space because it makes your design cleaner and less cluttered.
Choose Your Fonts Carefully
There are scores of elaborate font styles that may appear enticing but they are not necessarily easy to read. Choosing readability over style is one of the most important decisions you need to make when creating a user-friendly website.
In the print medium, serif fonts continue to find favor with most. However, san serif fonts tend to work better for online purposes. If you select multiple fonts, there’s a good chance that your content will be difficult to scan. Further, it’s important that you highlight links and keywords to make them stand out.
Avoid Broken Links
Nobody likes an error 404 message that comes about because of a broken link. Such links in your content will confuse users and make the site appear unprofessional. Besides, they have a negative impression and will affect the credibility of your content adversely. This means you should check all your links before launching a website or posting any new content. Double- and even triple-check to make sure the links are working. Fortunately, there are a number of online tools that let you check broken links throughout your website, although you’ll typically need to pay a fee.
2. Work on Your Navigation
If you’re wondering what makes a website easy to use, ensuring clutter-free navigation is among the best things you can do. Make sure the menu is not jam-packed with options because this just complicates the navigation. Simplified navigation, on the other hand, is effective and improves user experience.
Clean the Layout
If your website has a confusing layout, it might be among the top reasons your business is not doing well in the online world. Making sure the navigation is simple helps a great deal in keeping visitors on the site. You need to highlight the most important pages such as About Us and Contact Us to make them easily visible. If you want to use layers for different categories, ensure everything is organized and clean. This makes for simpler navigation and a better user experience.
Place the Navigation Tool Strategically
The navigation tool gives users access to the options they’re looking for, and while it should be easy to use, you also need to place it in a strategic position. This tool usually finds its place on the top, either on the right or left side. Web designers need to ensure that the navigation tool should appear above the fold regardless of the device used.
Do Not Forget About the Site Map
Site maps are not only important for search engines; they are very useful in case a user wants to find a particular page on the website. If you give users a map they can use to find the information they seek, your website will appear friendlier to them.
Search Bars Do the Trick
It is a good idea to have a search bar on your site. This is because it helps users find the information they need much faster than they typically can without the search functionality. From your perspective, you get information about what people are searching for on your site. This can help you make suitable changes to improve their experience.
Stay Away From Acronyms and Abbreviations
Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms in titles as much as you can unless they are obvious. It is easy to confuse users and spoil their experience if they don’t know exactly what an acronym or abbreviation actually means. Just use common words such as “home,” “offers,” “contact us,” “support,” and “blog” so users may find the important pages on your website with ease.
3. Optimize Loading Speed
Time is an important factor and people never seem to have enough. When visitors land on your website, they want things to work as quickly as possible so they may move to other important things in their lives. This means it’s quite easy for them to get really impatient.
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To avoid frustrating your target audience, you have to work on your website’s load time. If you hope to keep visitors from leaving your website because of this reason, make sure it loads within four to six seconds. Anything longer than this will be detrimental to your website.
Faster load times will help keep visitors on your website and slower speeds might send them to your competitors. Page speed affects your traffic and your website ranking, which, in turn, will further affect your traffic. When Google looks at your site, one of the important things it focuses on is page speed, so pay due attention to loading time.
Avoid Large Files
It is very important to avoid large photos, videos, flash, and other types of files. It might seem like these elements make your website appear amazing but they will actually slow it down and increase clutter. Before you rush to add any heavy file, think about speed and loading time.
Use Compressed Files
If your website has many images, you might want to use them in compressed form. This will reduce the heaviness that affects loading time. Make sure you resize images before you upload them. To be on the safer side, avoid resizing using height and width, and use Photoshop instead. This is because Photoshop will resize the image without affecting quality much, and this is valuable for a website.
With time, some pages become outdated or no longer exist. This results in external links pointing to some old pages. Ensuring that your website delivers a good user experience requires avoiding external redirects and sticking to internal redirects that will not disappoint. Manually check whether the links are working properly once in a while or use an online tool.
4. Think Responsive
Data released by Statista surrounding global mobile internet usage shows that there were 4.32 billion unique internet mobile users in the world in 2021. That’s around 90% of the world’s total internet population. It’s fair to say, then, that a significant number of people who view your website use mobile devices. As a result, it’s crucial that your website should perform equally well across all types of devices and screen sizes.
Web design companies that focus on creating customized responsive websites make use of specifically tailored code as well as versatile programming environments and languages. This makes way for flexible retrieval of data based on the device that one might use to access the website. A well-made responsive website comes with no loss in resolution no matter the screen size and offers seamless navigation.
While ensuring that your website is responsive makes way for a better user experience, it also finds favor with Google. The need for responsive web design in e-commerce websites is particularly important because a significant number of people now use their mobile devices to make online purchases.
5. Pay Attention to ADA Compliance
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has guidelines surrounding what businesses need to do to ensure that people with disabilities can access their websites. You need to adhere to these guidelines not only to avoid the possibility of lawsuits but also to make sure that all the people who visit your website have good user experiences.
The U.S. Department of Justice provides guidance that covers important aspects such as accessibility, barriers that people with disabilities might face, and how to make your website more accessible.
Some of the factors that web designers need to pay attention to when working on user-friendly websites that people with disabilities may access with ease include:
- Suitable use of colors
- Adding alt text with images
- Captioning of videos
- Making way for keyboard navigation
- Creating accessible forms
6. Let Users Find Your Contact Information Easily
The Contact Us page of your website should be as user-friendly as possible because this is where people reach when they want to get in touch with your business. From probable customers’ points of view, easy-to-find contact details help build trust, and they look at your business as one that actually exists.
This page should ideally give users the ability to contact your business using an online form and an email address. Providing a phone number and a physical address is important, not only to build trust but also for people who prefer traditional modes of communication. If your business has social media accounts, be sure to add links by using suitable buttons.
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If you run your business from a physical location, adding a map that lets your customers find it with ease is always a good idea.
These tips about how to make your website user-friendly can help you create a great website for your target audience. You just have to make sure that you do everything carefully and take your time because being in a hurry might lead to unsatisfactory results. Making changes to your website is a continuous task that will ensure it is always accessible, ranked well, and delivers a good user experience.
Your best bet is to keep a close eye on your website and test it occasionally to check usability, optimization, and user preferences. If you don’t have the required know-how, using the services of a professional web design company might work well for you.