By Contributing Writer Sarah Kearns
When you’re trying to create a website, it’s important to find the proper balance between making it informative and making it easy to use. Today’s customer will quickly abandon a website if it is tricky to navigate or confuses them. Here are some tips for making sure that your website is fully functional AND user-friendly.
Keep it Simple
Less is more. You will want to carefully review every bit of your landing page to be certain that everything on it is essential. Don’t over-burden the user with trying to find the link they are looking for in a wall of text. Using well-defined tabs to help them access the information they want is better than trying to fit everything on the landing page and overwhelming them.
Make things Obvious
Large, simple buttons like “contact us” and “shop now” is the best way to help your customers navigate your site. Sure, you could say “our email address is” or “view our products here,” but keeping things simple and obvious will help your customers know just what to click on next. Spend the time to automate things like contact forms or other user interfaces so that the customer doesn’t have to work too hard to get what they want.
Unless your customers are industry-specific or highly technical, you’ll want to avoid using technical jargon that the average user isn’t going to understand. Have someone outside your industry review the text before you publish it so that you can be sure it is easy to understand and accessible to all. Having a site that your users can’t navigate because they don’t understand the lingo is a sure way to increase your site abandonment by users.
Make it Mobile Friendly
The vast majority of browsing and online shopping now happens on mobile devices. Take the time to make your website responsive so that your users get the same easy experience if they are on their phone that they would while shopping on their computer. The good news is that most site-building programs on the market today are designed to be responsive, so you don’t have to spend too much time in the planning and execution of this.
Use Clear Fonts
Stay away from the urge to get too creative. Finding a fancy or whimsical font can seem like a way to make your site stand out, but if it causes eye strain or makes it difficult for your users to read, you’re going to lose them. Keep text large, simple, and make it contrast with the background. Make sure that any hyperlinks are easy to identify as well.
Make it Fast
Today’s user is impatient and demands immediate gratification. Spending the extra money to ensure that your code is well-written and your site loads quickly are worth more than the potential losses because your users abandon your site.
Use Images Wisely
While you want your site to be creative and to have some pop, you don’t want to overwhelm your users with too many images, or with flashy animations or videos. A quick logo design, or maybe a product image, can help to enhance your site, but if you make the screen too busy, it detracts from the user’s ability to find what they are looking for.
Sarah Kearns is a hardworking mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.