We’ve all visited a website that was so badly designed that we immediately left the site. What was it that made the site so unusable? Whether it was the menu, the bad content or confusing layout, something prompted us to hit the “back” button and look for another website.
A poorly designed website can mean high bounce rates, fewer site visitors, less sales and other negative consequences for your business. However, when your website is user friendly, your entire business will benefit.
Make it Intuitive
When people come to your website, you want them to intuitively be able to navigate it. This means things should be easy to find and the organisation should be logical. While we may not realise it, we have come to expect certain forms of organisation on websites.
For example, we intuitively expect blog posts to be arranged in chronological order and contact information to be near the top or the bottom of a website. Make sure the layout and organisation on your website makes sense and is easy to navigate.
Use Clear and Helpful Menus
Your website is probably organised with some kind of navigation menu, whether it is a traditional bar across the top or a more creative display of buttons. Regardless of what design and style you use for your menus, they should all be clear and helpful.
Use categories, terms and labels that make sense to your market so people can quickly find what they are looking for. Also make sure your menus are easy to find and readable.
Put Relevant Information Near the Top
You probably already know why your market visits your website, or why you want people to visit your website, so use that knowledge to make it more user friendly. For example, if you know your market visits your website to download your products, add a “Products” label to your menu.
You can take this approach a step further by strategically deciding what pages to make more accessible to your visitors. If you want to promote your blog, free samples, products or other pages, put links to them on your home page.
Use Colours and Design to Guide Visitors
Subtle cues, like colours, shapes, contrast, and the design of your website, can guide visitors through your site so they can find what they are looking for and respond to your calls to action.
Use side bars, coloured buttons, white space and other design elements to your advantage so your site is both beautiful and strategic. You can find out what kinds of changes you need to make by asking members of a focus group to look at your website and tell you what elements they saw first. This will tell you if your design is helping you meet your goals or what kinds of changes you need to make.
Offer Support and Contact Information
One of the best ways to make your site user friendly is to make it easy for your visitors to contact you. Depending on the type of business you have, you may want to offer customer support through chat or email or you may provide a form and phone number people can use if they have questions or need to contact your business.
The key is to make sure this contact information is easy to find so your visitors feel that you are ready to help with customer support options. If your visitors can’t quickly figure out how to contact you, they will leave your website and look for help somewhere else, possibly with one of your competitors.
When you use these guidelines to make your website more user friendly, you will be able to reach your market more effectively and your entire business will be more successful.