People are pretty demanding when it comes to website functionality. There are so many beautifully designed and intuitive websites out there, that it’s now an expectation for websites to be incredibly user-friendly. A website that’s littered with broken links, difficult to navigate and just plain unattractive may as well not exist. Consumers don’t want to navigate a poorly designed website – they’ll just click off, costing you sales.
A user-friendly website will allow visitors to navigate easily, find all the information they need and be pleasant to browse. Essentially, it all boils down to designing with the user in mind. Your customers should always be at the forefront when putting together a website, and you should focus on what would be useful and easy for them. As a good user interface will dramatically improve the chance of conversions, here are 8 tips on how to ensure your website is user-friendly.
Your website should load fast
People are impatient when it comes to loading times, and expect websites to load quickly. Roughly half of us say we expect a website to load within two seconds, and 53% will abandon the website altogether if it takes longer than three.
Therefore, it’s crucial to have a fast website – you can’t make sales if users keep clicking off due to long loading times. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights to check the speed of your website. This tool will suggest steps you can take to improve the speed, such as optimising images and adding a caching plugin.
Your website should be mobile responsive
Isn’t it annoying when text on a website is so tiny on your phone that you can barely click on it?
As more and more people use their mobile devices to surf the web, it’s now a necessity to have a mobile-responsive website. By this, I mean that your website needs to look as good on mobile as it does on a desktop. It also needs to function properly. Remember that mobile devices are small and people need to use their fingers to click. So, when designing a website, ensure that the mobile version has links and buttons designed for people with fat fingers.
Your website should be easy to navigate
Simplicity is key when it comes to website design. Too many buttons and links are likely to not only be unattractive, but also confusing for the website visitor. Your navigation needs to be simple, so that users can find what they’re looking for easily. Make it easy for website visitors to find your FAQ and contact pages, too, so that they can quickly find answers.
When building your site map and naming your pages and menu items, think about what would make the most sense for your website visitors. Forget multi-level navigations – no one wants to navigate through sub-sub categories.
The navigation bar is what website users will primarily use to find their way around your website. Don’t use too many categories here – ensure its uncluttered and easy to understand. If there are too many links in your menu bar, you could create a top bar – a smaller menu bar above the main navigation bar – as well.
Include a search feature
Sometimes website users just cannot find what they’re looking for, no matter how intuitive and well-designed your menus are. Always include a search feature on your website – and put it somewhere visible. Not only will this help users who are lost, but will also help users to find pieces of content they’re interested in without having to navigate through your website.
Make it easy for website visitors to contact you
Did you know that 89% of consumers want choices for how they communicate with a business? As such, your contact page should provide as many ways as possible for people to get in touch.
Display your phone number and email clearly on your contact page and in your footer, and add live chat, too, as this is becoming a preferred method of communication, particularly for younger markets. Not only this, proactive live chat enables you to send a pop up message to website visitors while they’re browsing, so that they can ask questions and find out more information in real-time.
Provide in-depth and digestible content
Your website visitors want to be able to find all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision. If the visitor has to search around for the information they need, they’re likely to get frustrated and search for a competitor instead. This isn’t to say you should fill your website with large blocks of text, but rather be sure to cover the key points that a potential customer would need to know.
Use simple and concise language, ensuring to include headings and bullet points to make text skimmable and easy to read. You should also avoid using jargon. Remember that what may be an everyday word to you, may be completely unfamiliar to a layman.
Your website should be easy on the eyes
Humans are visual creatures. We like things to look nice. As such, your website should be visually appealing, with colours that complement each other, and high-quality images.
It’s also important to think about the text you use. The content on your website needs to be easy to read, so make sure the text size is large enough so that your visitors aren’t squinting. You should also think about the font itself – cursive fonts are a no-no for websites. Especially for large blocks of text, cursive fonts can be difficult to read, so always choose a standard font like Sans Serif or Arial. Be aware that text can also be difficult to read if it’s overlayed over an image or if the background colour is too similar – make sure writing is clearly visible over backgrounds and images.
Include clear call to actions
While things may seem obvious to you as a business owner, it may not be so obvious to your website visitors. Sometimes users need to be shown which actions they need to take on your website – whether that’s to download, buy, or even just to find out more.
Call to actions should be clear and located on highly visible areas where users are likely to click, such as on the top part of a webpage. This encouragement is often all that’s needed to tell users what they need to do and drive that action.
Read our 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid blog post next if you’d like to find out 10 simple things you can do to ensure your website is found on search engines.