In today’s digital world, your business’s website has as much of an impact on your customer service as any physical interaction. The best thing you can do for your website is guarantee a user-friendly web design. The competition is fierce, and if a user can’t quickly and easily locate what they need on your site they’ll simply move on. Great user-friendly web design is a combination of content, design and functionality, all working together to create a seamless user experience. Here are a few key elements of user-friendly sites.
Key Elements of User-Friendly Web Design
- Load time
Most consumers quickly scan websites looking for key information. To cater to your audience, easy scannability should be at the top of your web design list. Scannability starts with the proper content format. Use bullets, subheads, white space and short paragraphs to break up the information on a page. As a rule of thumb, keep it short and simple. No one wants to search through huge blocks of text to find what they’re looking for. Next comes color scheme. Make sure there is enough contrast between the background of your site and the color of your font to keep the words easily readable. When you’re choosing a font consider using a sans serif font, which are most commonly used in web design while serif fonts are used in print.
Always design with the user in mind. That means organizing content as the user navigates through it, ordering by relevance and interest so users will come across the most important information first. Include a menu, but keep it simple. Incorporating a multi-layered menu system into your web design confuses consumers and pages inevitably get lost in the layers. Adding a search bar is always smart, as it allows users to directly search for what they’re looking for instead of scrolling through pages of content. Finally, avoid using abbreviations and acronyms. While you might think the meaning is obvious, consumers may be unaware of certain terms. It’s safest to keep the content simple and straightforward.
According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans have smartphones, and for many people their phones are their key point of entry into the online world. This means that mobile optimization is an indispensable part of any web design. In fact, mobile optimization is so critical we’ve dedicated another blog to explaining its importance. Check it out here.
If your website does not load within 4-6 seconds, it’s too slow. Slow load time not only drives users away, but it also hurts your search rankings on Google. The most important thing to remember is, in this case, bigger is not better. Large images, files and videos can cripple the load time of your site. Compressing and resizing images can help eliminate some of the lag time your images may cause. Another tip for speeding up load time is to limit the number of external links on your site. Redirects not only slow down your site, but they require constant updating to avoid links to outdated sites.