Surprisingly, 52 percent of small businesses don’t own a website. Those who do set up their site on a rush, neglecting user-friendliness.
On the other hand, a website with excellent usability shouldn’t be underestimated. That’s because it plays a crucial role in the overall success of a website.
There are various elements every website needs to succeed and usability is one of them. It enhances your site performance, boosts sales, and improves your business revenue in the long run.
There are many ways how you can improve your site’s usability‒creating a seamless experience for users. In this post, we’ll talk about the twelve characteristics of a user-friendly website.
1. Intuitive Sitemap
When it comes to building your sitemap, it’s crucial to keep it as intuitive and straightforward as possible. Each page should be named appropriately and the sub-navigation should directly relate to the primary navigation option.
For larger site maps, it is recommended to build utility navigation. It is a much smaller navigation bar found on the top right corner of most sites. This is advisable to avoid overcrowding your primary navigation bar.
2. Mobile Compatibility
The number of users that are accessing the internet through their smartphones and other mobile devices are on the rise. That’s precisely why you need a mobile-optimized site.
What you can do is to check how your existing site appears when viewed on a mobile phone. If you want to create a mobile version of your site, take advantage of web-based website builders.
3. Simple Navigation
Simplicity in web design isn’t a new concept. Today’s users want websites to be straightforward and intuitive as much as possible.
So, instead of creating multi-level navigations and overly complicated page names, name every page appropriately and clearly. Also, keep the sub-navigation to a bare minimum.
4. Accessible Web Design
A user-friendly website means that it’s accessible to everyone, including the disabled, blind, and elderly. Keep in mind that most of these users need screen-readers to access the internet.
The 508 website accessibility guidelines have pretty simple web design techniques that can be applied to ensure that your site is accessible to on-screen readers, and making it available to a much broader audience.
5. Easy-to-Find Logo
Don’t make users hunt down your site logo or your brand identity. It should easily be seen on the top right corner of your site. Doing so allows people to identify with your brand more easily.
The logo should be clickable as well. That way, it directly leads users to the homepage, wherever they currently are on your site.
6. Well-Planned Information Architecture
The information that is organized and presented in your site is vital for site usability. But the thing is, it’s often neglected.
But this aspect has been increasingly vital as a lot of sites offer a large variety of information and resources that attract their target market.
That’s why it’s essential that you plan these section and categories carefully. Present the information in a way that users can easily find it.
Moreover, always consider the user’s perspective especially if you offer a lot of content on your company site.
7. Website Speed
Is your site fast enough to show what visitors are looking for? Remember that your website shouldn’t be slow especially if you’re presenting content to visitors.
Nothing frustrates users more than a slow loading site. If your website doesn’t load within three seconds or less, then you’re going to lose site visitors and your bounce rate will go up.
In fact, according to a study, 53 percent of mobile visits were abandoned if a website takes longer than three seconds to load.
Also, the same study found out that sites that load within 5 seconds or less have 70 percent longer sessions, 35 percent fewer bounce rates, and 25 percent higher ad viewability compared to sites that take four times longer to load.
8. Consistent Overall Look
Aside from keeping your site navigation consistent, the overall look and feel of your site should also remain constant.
Keep the typefaces, color schemes, backgrounds, and even the tone of your voice in your content consistent. That way, it can have a positive impact on the UX and usability of your website.
By this, we don’t mean that every page on your site should have the same layout. Instead, craft a variety of layouts for particular types of pages. For instance, a different kind of layout for informational pages, landing pages, and so on.
By using layouts consistently, you’re making it easy for users to understand the kind of information that they’re more likely to come across in a specific page.
9. Clear Call-to-Actions
Sometimes, users need to be reminded of what you want them to do on a particular page. While it’s already clear to you what’s the required or recommended action, there’s no reason to leave your visitors wondering.
So make your call-to-action clear on every page and on the areas that receive the highest click-throughs. That way, you can encourage visitors to take the actions that you want them to.
Here is a couple of CTAs:
- “Download Now”
- “Contact Us”
- “Click Here to Order”
- “Get a Quote Now”
- “Learn More about X”
- “Get Your Free X”
10. Effective Navigation
Ideally, your navigation should be free of clutter so limit the number of items on the menu. Usually, a drop-down menu and a sub-navigation work significantly better for a large site with multiple sections.
11. Well-Formatted Content That’s Easy to Scan
Most internet users merely skim on the content without reading each and every word. They only scan the critical parts of the page to quickly know if it’s relevant to their needs or not.
It’s essential to format your content with this in mind. Correctly use paragraphs, headings, sub-headings, lists, and bullets to break up the text effectively so it’s easier to scan.
12. Conventional Web Elements
There are several web conventions that internet users have been familiar with, over the years. These conventions include:
- Primary navigation on the left side or on top of the page
- Logo on the center (or top left) of the page
- A logo that’s clickable so that it always brings the visitor back to the homepage
- Links that change in color and appearance once you hover over them
Sometimes, it’s tempting to throw out these design conventions for something wholly original and unique, but that’s a huge mistake. It’s only going to confuse people.
To provide the best user experience as possible for your site visitors, know what type of web experiences users are familiar with. Then, you can utilize that information to make your site easy to navigate.
Are You Now Set to Build Your User-Friendly Website?
According to Sytian Productions, an excellent web design company in the Philippines, “A lot of users fail to convert because they don’t care so much on the overall user experience.”
So, if you want to be on top of your game, you should start caring more. Start putting yourself in the users’ perspective.
To achieve the best results, start implementing these tips on your site. Moreover, don’t forget to test your site’s functionality before it goes live. Remember that a broken site wouldn’t be user-friendly, and it wouldn’t help you rank high on search engines either.