Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

How to Make Your Website User-Friendly

While the term “user-friendly” is easily understood, not all businesses successfully build a user-friendly website. Simply defined, a user-friendly website makes a visitor’s experience as efficient and satisfactory as possible. First-time visitors should be able to quickly find what they’re looking for and as a business, you must make a positive first impression.

To make your website user-friendly you have to get into the mindset of your visitors. After all, they are your potential customers. Your goal is to help them solve a problem. If your website provides an easily-found solution, they will reward you with their business.

Here are some tips how to make your website user-friendly. We’ll keep it short and to the point because that is how business-oriented websites should convey their message to visitors.

Mobile compatibility. This is at the top of the list these days as mobile web usage has surpassed desktop web usage. Also, Google considers mobile friendliness as a factor in website ranking results. Your website must employ responsive web design (RWD) to ensure that your content is seen properly no matter what device your visitors are using.

Easy-to-follow, intuitive navigation. Place the main navigation menu on the top of your pages or on the left-hand side. Include breadcrumbs, displayed horizontally below page titles and headers. They serve as another way for visitors to find their way home from internal website pages.

Add search functionality. This will ensure that visitors find what they’re looking for. Make sure that search works and doesn’t provide long lists of unrelated results.

Simple, functional but appealing design. Your company’s logo should be displayed in the upper left-hand corner of your site and you should have an appealing, consistent colour scheme. Images should be of high resolution. Regular fonts should be used at a size that is easy to read on all devices. Make content easy to read by using black texts on a white background.

Concise content. It is important to realize that most internet users skim through the content on web pages. To make this easy for them, use enhanced headings and subheadings, bullet lists, and short paragraphs. Include images on the page to help break up the text. Don’t go overboard with your usage of jargon and keywords. Make sure your content is suitable for readers and not prepared solely for the visits of search engine web crawlers.

Include easily-found contact information. Make it easy for your website visitors to contact you and give them multiple ways to do this, including email, online chat, telephone, fax, and even a physical address. Contact information should be found in the main navigation menu, or at the bottom of website pages. Give real information about your company on the About Us page.

Easy to use forms. Your goal is to get a visitor to interact with you and become your customer. On any forms you use, keep fields to a minimum by only asking for the necessary information. Ask the customer’s permission before you use a submitted email address for marketing purposes and assure them that you won’t be sharing it. Offer tooltips, suggestions, and explanations. Clearly mark mandatory fields and list polite error messages. Thank your customers with an on-screen message when they complete the form.

Things to avoid include annoying pop-ups; auto-play video and sound; breaking up an article into multiple “click to read more pages”; and Flash, which is not supported by most mobile web browsers.

Making your website user-friendly doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment. There is no need to raise additional capital, win the Mega Millions lottery, or take out a loan in order to afford the required changes. When your website is aligned with visitors’ expectations, they will become your customers and this will help your business succeed.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!

Earfree Nitebuds: For Better Sleep

Earfree Nitebuds, the two-in-one speaker and pillow that plays calming music, improving the quality of your sleep, is launching on Indiegogo.

The idea for the Nitebuds sleep pillow came from people who used to sleep with earphones in. Many of us who have trouble sleeping at night use earphones to listen to calming sleep music, but sleeping with earphones in is just too uncomfortable. Using earphones while you sleep can cause pain and inflammation in the ear; plus, earphones tend to fall out in the middle of the night. But the adverse effects of earphones on ear health is undoubtedly the most critical of these issues.

Nitebuds puts music IN the pillow to solve the problems caused by conventional earbuds. All you have to do is lay your head down on the pillow to be serenated with lovely music. There’s no earbuds involved – so you can roll around in bed all you like without having to worry about damage to your ears or earbuds falling out.

Nitebuds are simple to use. Just place the speakers in the special sleep-aid pillow, then use Bluetooth to pair your smartphone and begin your music therapy. Once your music is playing, Nitebuds’ crater-shaped design enhances the acoustics, making you feel like you’re listening in on a concert hall performance. This design also prevents the sound from leaking out, giving you the same quality of sound at a 30% lower volume, so as not to bother whoever’s sleeping next to you.

The Nitebuds app also provides free ASMR music and ambience, soothing the brain and easing any anxiety. This white noise works has great benefits on mental health and attentiveness, making the sleep music from the Nitebuds app particularly effective at inducing a natural sleep.

Nitebuds uses 3D mesh material for full, fluffy comfort. The mesh also helps the music play through the pillow without getting muffled, plus high-quality microfiber cotton is also used to give the perfect amount of depth and coziness. The microfiber cotton is also a renewable, biodegradable material, which means Nitebuds is eco-friendly, too.

Even though Nitebuds is electronic, the speaker and pillow are fully separable, meaning the pillow can be washed without issue. If you want, you can even use the pillow by itself without the speakers, or even place other items inside the pillow to help you sleep.

For instance, if you find yourself sweating a lot in those hot summer nights, you can place ice-packs in the pillow to help cool off. Or, when you’re stressed out and in the mood for aromatherapy, the CYPRESS insert can be used for some phytoncide healing.

Also, if you have a preference for a specific pillow height, just use the COTTON insert to adjust the pillow’s height to your preference.

You can back Earfree Nitebuds – the high-tech pillow that serenades you to sleep – by finding their campaign on Indiegogo.