Before the phrase “user-friendly” was created, website developers and users didn’t have a key phrase for describing well-made websites. Instead, they described each feature which made the website so easy to use. On the other hand, a poorly-made website was defined as one where the design aspects and development features didn’t meet user expectations.
Today, users are extremely demanding when it comes to website design and functionality, as they should be. With so many new remarkable web design and development trends emerging almost daily, landing on a so-so website is just plain disappointing. If your website makes it difficult for users to find what they’re looking for, is filled with broken links, or takes too long to load, it might as well not exist.
To keep users on your website and encourage them to return, it’s no longer a suggestion that you invest in a user-friendly design – it’s a requirement. We’ve gathered a list of proven tips for maximizing the user experience by building an intuitive and user-friendly website.
Designing With the User in Mind
When building out your site map your goal should be to keep it as intuitive and simple as possible. Name each page appropriately and make sure that the sub navigation relates to its main navigation option. If you have a larger site map, create a utility navigation, a smaller navigation bar found in the top right of some websites, to avoid overcrowding on the main navigation bar.
Here are some recommended tips for designing a user-friendly website for your business:
Build a Responsive or Mobile-First Navigation
Users need to be able to navigate through your site easily, regardless of the device they are viewing it on. Your navigation should be easy to find and use on any device. It can be designed to be responsive, or you can use a mobile-first design approach.
Keep Your Navigation Simple
Simplicity in web design and development is not a new concept. However, today’s users want (and need) things to be as simple and intuitive as possible. Instead of coming up with complex page names and multi-level navigations, name each page appropriately and clearly, and keep sub navigations to a minimum when possible.
Make Your Logo Easy to Find
Don’t make users hunt for your logo or brand identity. Users expect your logo to be in the top left corner of your website, so give them what they want. This allows users to identify your brand easily. Your logo should also be clickable and should direct users back to the home page from wherever they are on your site.
Make Your Website Lightning Fast
Slow loading websites just don’t cut it today. If your website doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less, you’re going to lose visitors. According to a study done by DoubleClick by Google, “53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page took longer than 3 seconds to load.” This same study found that:
“sites loading within 5 seconds had 70% longer sessions, 35% lower bounce rates, and 25% higher ad viewability than sites taking nearly four times longer at 19 seconds.”
Make It Easy to Search Your Site
Sometimes, even the savviest of website users can’t find what they’re looking for, and they’ll be expecting your site to have search functionality. If it doesn’t, they will likely leave and find a site that is easier to navigate. It’s a simple design feature that shouldn’t be neglected.
Include Clear Call-to-Actions
Sometimes visitors need to be encouraged or reminded of what your business wants them to do on a specific page. While it may seem clear to you what action is required/recommended on a particular page, there’s no reason to let your visitors wonder.
By adding a clear call-to-action on every page, and in the most clickable areas, you’ll drive visitors to take the actions you want them to. A few examples of clear call-to-actions include:
"Click Here to Order"
"Download Now "
“Get a Quote”
“Learn More About X”
“Get Your Free X”
Make Content Easy to Digest
Use language that is simple and concise, and include headers, subheaders, bullets, and other formatting techniques to make it easy for readers to skim your content. Also, avoid using industry jargon whenever possible. While it’s okay to use words that show you’re an expert in your field, it’s important to understand the knowledge level of your audience and to write first and foremost for them.
Balance Text with Media
Today’s website visitors are reading less and expecting more photos, videos, and other visual components. At the same time, it’s important to create the right balance between text and images, and not to go overboard with stimulation. Use high-quality images that enhance the text, but don’t overcrowd your pages, and use real photos whenever possible.
Make Content Shareable.
To get the most out of social media today, you must create content that is easily shareable. In addition to including social icons on each page of your website, you may also want to allow users to share specific pieces of content on your site across multiple social media platforms.
Ready to Build Your User-Friendly Website?
For best results, implement as many of the above tips as possible. And don’t forget to test the functionality of your site before it goes live. A broken site isn’t user-friendly, and it won’t help your site rank high in the search engines, either. You can check your site speed using Google’s Speed Scorecard. You can even estimate the revenue impact is of increasing your site speed, using Google’s Impact Calculator.
Do you want to build an intuitive and user-friendly website that your visitors will love?