One of the most critical aspects of designing and building a successful website is user-friendliness. This means visitors to the site must find it easy to use. Although this seems straightforward, many sites miss the mark. But making a site user-friendly is really not that difficult. Here’s how to ensure your site is a hit with your visitors.
Graphics and Navigation
One of the biggest mistakes people make when building a website is going overboard with graphics and animation. These components are not necessarily bad, but they can be problematic. Keep in mind that people use different types of computers and devices, operating speeds, and browsers. Because of this, everyone will have a slightly different online experience.
If you were to load your website with large graphics and go heavy on animations, load time for some people will be extremely slow. If your website doesn’t load quickly, people will leave without seeing your content. Therefore, your goal is to create a website that loads fast for everyone while still having unique personality and flavour.
A visitor will decide within seconds whether to proceed or back out. You have 3 to 8 seconds to make a good enough impression that people who come to your site decide to stay. The way to accomplish this is by using the right colour scheme, correct fonts, and creating a professional yet inviting look and feel.
People want to move between different sections of a website seamlessly. Therefore, your site must be structured so it flows naturally and easily. Frames work great for organizing site navigation. As part of this, consider having a top, bottom, or sidebar that contains links to the primary pages within the site, as opposed to every single page.
At a minimum, your website should have a Home, About Us, Products, Services, and Contact page. Put things in order that make sense to how most people conduct searches; each clearly marked with standard words that are easy to remember.
In addition, always include a sitemap, so if someone is having a difficult time finding a particular page or information beyond the marked sections, it’s easier to identify and reach a different section of the site.
Another way to create a user-friendly website is with well-written content. For the main pages, always keep your text short and to the point. Different coloured text and font types can be used to emphasize something specific, and bullet points work great for breaking up and defining information.
As part of the site design, be sure you offer readers one or more articles or blogs loaded with original, useful, and helpful information. Regardless of your industry, you have an incredible opportunity to connect with your readers through great content. Although you can include a page that sells a product or service, be sure to offer content that is more educational. In other words, for the type of product and/or service your company sells, you can use an article or blog that tells readers how to use it, what the benefits are, safety concerns, industry news, and much more.
If people can purchase something from your website, offer them several methods for checkout. As an example, for quick and easy transactions, consider letting people make purchases using PayPal and debit/credit cards. No matter the preferred system, it needs to be quick and easy.
To ensure your website is user-friendly, think about the people who will access it and the way in which they will use the information provided. This comes from knowing your market niche and expectations. Always be consistent when designing the site; limit oversized graphics, animations, and Java applets; and use content to provide people with viable information that builds lasting connections.