One of the most important things to consider when designing a website is the usability. A good website should be easy to navigate, include useful content and have a clear user-journey, resulting in improved success and overall performance of the website.
User-friendly websites can be accomplished by designing a site that is clear, clutter free and not overly complicated. This will avoid the user becoming frustrated, leaving the website and finding what they are looking for on another site, meaning they won’t return again.
Below are a few things that I take in consideration when designing a user-friendly website:
Navigation – The navigation should be clear, and easy to use. The nav is usually positioned at the top of the page but should always be above the fold, whether it is on a desktop, mobile or tablet. Additionally, having a search box at the top of the page is good because it provides the user with an extra place to search for what they need, if it can’t be spotted right away.
Content – Any copy needs to be easy to read. This means the font size can’t be so small that it makes it impossible to read, and the font used should be legible. It helps if the website content is short and to the point. Try to avoid large paragraphs of copy as this can be over facing. Where possible, use bullet points and boxes for key information, as this allows it to stand out. Bolding out, and highlighting keys words and phrases is useful as it helps draw attention to that section of copy and informs the visitor that what they are reading is important. Hyperlinks should also be used but these should look significantly different to the highlighted words, to show a user that these are clickable. This is usually defined by having them underlined.
Breadcrumbs – Use a breadcrumb, so the visitors easily know whereabouts on the site they are. It also provides them with links to get back to other sections of the website.
Call to action – More often than not, the purpose of having a website is to give people more information so that they want to use the services you are offering. This is usually accomplished by having an enquiry form that people can fill in or an email address or phone number for people to get in touch. Make the CTAs bold and easy to find. There should always be a CTA above the fold; it usually sits in the header alongside the company logo. It shouldn’t be hidden away and should feature on every page. It is also good to have some sort of call to action in the footer area as well.
Responsive – Think about the different platforms that people could be viewing the website on. With more and more people using their mobiles for online browsing, there is nothing worse than visiting a site that isn’t responsive. Having a website that is responsive improves usability and readability, as it means the visitor doesn’t have to zoom in every time they want to read sections of content.
Finally use some images and photos on the site to enhance what is written in the content. This stops the website from being too copy heavy and makes it look more visually appealing. A good way of including images is in a rotating carousel at the top of the homepage; this then becomes an ideal space to display some key messages and photos, which indicate what the website is trying to promote.
Having a user-friendly website plays a big part in the overall success and performance of a site. These are just a few of the many things that could help make your website a success.