Frequently people (and designers) spend a hours and hours of time to make their site gorgeous, with all the latest technology and trends. Considering the website more as an art assignment than a tool for generating business.
However in the end it comes down to this – it doesn’t matter how pretty your website is, if people can’t use it, can’t find what they’re looking for or get annoyed or frustrated when they use it, then it’s not a good site.
So unless the purpose of your website is for artistic display rather than searched for information, sales or the like then user-friendliness and efficiency should be your top priorities.
So here are some strategies to apply to make both easier and faster to use.
1) Be Selective With Your Fonts
The best example for this is usually serif fonts, which is the font with the bits sticking out above and below the line. If you have any instructions on your website, when used with a more accessible font visitors will find it both more understandable and easier to carry out. Which may make a big difference if your goal is to get people to perform a certain call to action.
Another quick tip is to use short paragraphs with spaces between them! The reason for this is online where space is free, there is no need to have large dense blocks of text, which are off putting to read.
2) People Don’t Read
Visitors to your website will scan for what they’re looking for, not read all of your text. Initially they may explore pictures and visual cues to see if they contain what they are looking for. Then and only then will they go for text. The more text you have, the less likely they are to bother.
3) Load Faster
If your website doesn’t load quickly (within 2 seconds) then you are losing close to half of the people you get onto your website – and nobody wants that. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean that you have to switch to more expensive providers.
A strategy that usually works well is to load your page in stages. So allow the most vital (or 1st to be seen) elements, such as the top of the page first and then load in the rest.
4) Avoid Clutter
This is so easy to do and yet quite often ignored, so many websites are stuffing much too many menu items into the top bar and / or a lot of text onto their screen in a small confined space. Nowadays it is better to be more minimalist and spread the text and images out to give it a clear, simplistic design.
5) Easy to Reach Pages
If there are several layers which people must get past to get to where your information is then they are very likely to get annoyed and probably go elsewhere. Therefore your website architecture should allow them to get anywhere they need to within a couple of clicks. This is great for your users happiness, but it will also make it easier for google to scan your page and discover your content – And we all want Google on our side!
User friendliness is not something you can overlook because nobody else is. This means that people have certain expectations and if you can’t meet them then you will almost certainly lose out. It is already obvious to see this now, with websites which haven’t been updated in a few years looking staid and old and decidedly un-user-friendly (certainly not mobile friendly).
Bad page design means that automatically visitors will have a poor opinion of you and your information or products which you’re trying to share. This then means that you’re going to get a much lower conversion rate.
This is an avoidable trap, ensure that you don’t fall into it. Take some time to meet user-expectations or you’ll get more problems in your business than just user-experience.