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Vital Elements for A User-Friendly Website

You may have heard the term UI/UX, you may not. Either way there’s a good chance you haven’t considered its role in your business. Truth is, user-friendliness is often the difference between a user staying or leaving your site.

Helping with your site UX often comes down to your understanding of your market. Creating personas can help you gauge your site. As can user-testing. If you’re entering a tech savvy market, your possibilities are less limited than say those of an over sixties dating page.

You can find some of our top tips to get the most from your web pages below;

Keep it Simple

One of the most important things to correct or design for is simplicity. Your site should be easy to read and easy to navigate. Remember to make use of information hierarchy and make things easy to follow. Keeping items where you expect to see them is a good start. You may think you’ve come up with some great new plan, but people are used to seeing the menu at the top of the page. Keep the text informative and minimal.

Function vs Usability

Applying functionality at the expense of usability will always be detrimental to the user experience. Take a look at the Microsoft vs Apple debate. Both products are similar in nature, in fact you get more for your money with Microsoft. However time and time again Apple outsell its rivals – largely down to its superior user experience.

Responsive Design

To make the most of your web traffic you need to be responsive. With increasing numbers going online through mobile and tablet devices, designing for the small screen is becoming more and more important. At the same time, the introduction of smart TV’s has seen an increase in views on a larger scale. Make sure you’re compatible on both scales. When things get bigger, don’t let your image quality drop. On the small scale, re-render your layout to optimise information display and cut image size to reduce load times.

Accessibility

A true user-friendly site is accessible by all. Whether your user is blind, disabled or elderly. These users primarily make use of screen-readers to access the internet. You can view the 508 website accessibility guidelines which highlight simple techniques you ca apply to your site.

Navigation

Great navigation should also be a top priority. Keeping it simple with HTML and JavaScript is the best way to ensure cross-browser compatibility. It’s also important to keep your menu clutter free. Try to limit the number of options available. If your site has a lot of pages use sub-navigation or drop-downs to simplify this.

It is also worth considering search functionality, other ways to reach pages (e.g. Top posts etc.), custom 404 pages, internal linking and informative header/footer sections.

Error Handling

Showing the user what went wrong is a great way of reducing frustrations. Use of error handling and on-screen descriptions all assist but are often overlooked. Correct error handling at code level also helps keep your site robust and free from bugs.

Colour

Make use of contrast. This applies to print and digital content. It shouldn’t need explaining but high contrast between text and background helps legibility. Lack of contrast on the other hand can cause text to blend-in and lead to increasing frustrations.

Connection/Loading times

Longer than 6 seconds? You can say goodbye. If your load times are substantial, this needs to be addressed. Use of plug-ins, unnecessarily large imagery, and widgets can all effect this. Having clean code will also help. If you’ve exhausted these means you could also search for a faster, more local server.

Browser Compatibility

You have Google Chrome and your website looks great. Job done. Not quite. Have you tried testing your site across platforms and browsers? What works for you may not work for someone else. Get it checked and be sure that all viewers get the same experience.

Usable Forms

Having clear, useable forms gives prospects the opportunity to engage with your site. They also help generate leads, gather information and track users.

Website usability will always be a crucial factor in the success of your site. Creating a seamless experience will not only promote users to return but also enhance the reputation of your brand. To speak to our team about improving the usability of your site, simply click here.

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