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.