A well-designed website with easily accessible information can help visitors immediately understand what products or services you have to offer. They won’t have any problem navigating between your pages, and in all probability they will stay for a while.
For this reason, you should consider designing a website that is:
- Suitable for your content
Importantly, your website design should clearly communicate the benefits that visitors can obtain from your products and services. Remember, you’re not designing a website to make your company look good, you are aiming to help people solve a problem.
So, how can you ensue that your website is easy to use for visitors? Here are some top tips.
1. Make your site easy to navigate
Consider designing a main menu that will make it easier for users to find the information they require. For example, your web page should not have a disorganised or confusing navigation interface. Moreover, your essential pages should always appear in the top menu.
Adding a search bar in the navigation menu can enable visitors to search for relevant information without any hassle.
Today, it’s normal to have longer homepages with a maximum of five sections to direct users to essential parts of your site, which may include:
- Intro video
- Product features
- Your value proposition
- Services overview
Finally, it is essential to ensure that your customers have an easy and direct way of contacting you. Incorporating contact information on your website is crucial as more than half of users consider this to be a vital element of a reputable business. Besides your email, considering adding options such as live chat, a forum or a Freefone number. This will also raise your credibility factor among your prospective customers. Most importantly, once a visitor has decided to purchase your product or service, theyshould find it easy to locate your contact info. If they can’t, they may leave and you’ll end up with no sale. It’s imperative that you add a ‘Contact Us’ page in your main menu and in the footer section of each page.
2. It should be easy for users to read your content
Another user-friendly feature you can incorporate on your website is readable text. Studies have revealed that people no longer have the patience to read an entire site as they just tend to scan the content until something interesting catches their eye. Therefore, it’s much better to avoid using fonts and special characters that are difficult to read. Instead, use the type of text that the majority of users can read easily, even on smaller mobile screens.
Also, the content should be arranged in small paragraphs and follow the correct format. Consider headings and bullet points if appropriate, to make the content easy to scan. Plenty of white space around the text can ensure an adequate contrast between the colour of the text and the background.
3. Optimise your site for mobile devices
Most people today go online on their smartphones or tablets. Indeed, Google has announced its preference for mobile devices over desktop computers. So, it makes sense to design a website that will look good on these mobile devices. In fact, the search engine giant has claimed that 60% of mobile users won’t return to your site if it’s difficult to access. Even more worrying, 40% of them will visit your competitors’ websites instead.
As the screens on mobile devices are small, it is important to make sure that your site’s buttons remain visible. In addition, remember to create form fields that mobile users can quickly complete and send back to you.
4. Ensure the load time is faster than for the average website
Loading speed is crucial since 4 out of 10 people will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. Remember, images, videos, style sheets and script files can add to your site’s load time.
To enjoy the benefit of faster load times, consider optimising your images and using as few multimedia items as possible. You could also consider using a CDN server to host your web files, images and videos instead of relying on your own web host.
Studies have shown that people generally only have an 8-second attention span so it’s best to catch their interest as quickly as possible. The images you use should fit the message you are trying to convey to your audience. While many stock photos are free and easy to use, they must generate trust in your business. It’s preferable to use pictures of real people working at your company or office. If displaying genuine photos isn’t possible, you could take advantage of some specific techniques to bring realism to stock images. Of course, you will need to pick one that matches your content, but it is doable.
Readers also appreciate content that is devoid of jargon that they cannot understand. Furthermore, it’s no longer helpful to use phrases such as ‘next generation’ or ‘mission critical’ – virtually every company uses them and they no longer hold the same appeal.
If you’re not sure whether your site’s load speed is fast enough, here’s a quick guide:
- Less than 1 second – your site is fast.
- Less than 2.5 seconds – it’s a decent and acceptable loading time.
- Longer than 2.5 seconds – you’re slow and it’s costing you sales.
You can check your site’s load time with free programs such as Pingdom, although these tools do use various factors to measure speed. Nevertheless, if they indicate a rapid load time, then it’s probably true!
5. Colour schemes should look pleasing to the eye
In website design, colours are essential. In fact, two to five colours can work together well when used consistently. Sticking to just a few can give your brand a uniform look while also making it easier to update your site and enabling visitors to remember your products.
6. Call-to-action buttons must stand out
Without doubt, your website will have call-to-action (CTA) buttons. You may have read somewhere that red buttons are more likely to convert leads than green ones. However, this isn’t always the case. As long as the buttons stand out from the background, your visitors will easily be able to use them.
Social share and follow buttons are also valuable tools if you want users to share and spread your content. If your site includes blogs, you should consider adding these buttons. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they contain different social media icons which allow your readers to share your articles directly on the social media network of their choice.
Although such buttons encourage social sharing, they don’t pressure the readers to do so.
7. Encourage users to share feedback
Besides the call-to-action buttons, there are several ways to engage visitors. You can also encourage them to:
- Download a file (e.g., an eBook or PDF)
- Share their posts
- Submit a comment
However, it’s common for people to make a mistake when filling out a form. Unfortunately, some sites don’t provide an error message so users can’t proceed with the form as they are not told where they have made a mistake. If they can’t find the error, they’ll get frustrated and leave. In addition, some users are hesitant to download files online.
To reassure your visitors, describe what they are downloading or what will happen once they click on a link – it may open a new window or download a file to their computer. This is a small gesture but it will ensure your site is more user-friendly.
Here’s another thing, don’t ask for more information than is necessary. Once a user has started to fill out a form, they are converting from a prospect to a lead or a customer. However, if you are asking for too much information, they may just abandon the form and leave. For example, an email sign-up only requires a person’s email address and name (even a first name will do). If you’re selling a digital item, why would you need their physical address? So, as a rule of thumb, only ask for the bare essentials.
8. Your design and content should appeal to customers
Once upon a time, content focused on the use of ‘we’ and ‘our’. For example:
- ‘We’ will provide items…
- ‘Our’ offers include…
- ‘We’ know ‘our’ product works…
You may think that demonstrating how excellent your products and services are will help you get your point across. However, your audience may not see it that way. What they would like is for you to understand their needs, pains and fears and how your product or service can solve them.
Rather than using titles such as ‘How Our Products Work’, you could use phrases such as ‘How to Improve Your Productivity’. Try to include content that focuses on your customers’ current problems and in turn the possible solutions.
On the surface, these changes may not be apparent to your customers. Nevertheless, even minor adjustments can subconsciously affect the way in which they view your business.
Designing a user-friendly website is a continuous process. Your pages may look good today, but will they still attract visitors a year from now? Never underestimate the positive effect of making simple alterations, like changing a button’s colour or a header. If you want to make changes but are unsure as to whether they will bring a positive outcome, consider doing an A/B test; namely, test two versions of your website to see which one performs better.