10 Ways to Improve the Usability of Your Website
You should never underestimate the importance of web design usability. Usability can’t be calculated in objective figures, yet the efficiency and elegance of your website design are crucial factors in your website’s success. So what is web design usability? Usability is an integral, multi-facet measure that is examined according to the following major criteria: perception (how things look and perceived), operation (how things operate), comprehension (how things are understood) and reliability (how well things are actually working).
Mastering your web design usability improves your relationship with the most important figure in your professional life – your client. Usability compels you to think of your clients’ specific goals, and of your target audience.
In this post we’ll look at 10 pieces of practical advice on how to improve your website performance and make your visitors stay longer in your pages to enjoy the sweetness of your design!
#1 Simplify Your Design
Simplicity is one of the leading web design trends of this year. In a world bombarded with information, we find ourselves attracted to simple and clean compositions and familiar patterns. Especially in designing your home page, it’s important to focus your design on a few major ailments.
Implementing one strong centralized concept can attract the attention of the visitors of your site more effectively than trying to pack your homepage with every piece of relevant information or cool design whim that crosses your mind. Prioritize: put the most important message at the front, and spread the rest in the other sections of your site.
Try working with “the elimination rule”. When you finish to design a website page, try eliminating one of your web design elements. Then ask yourself, is your design still as effective? Did it become stronger? What will happen if you’ll eliminate another element…? Make sure you find the right balance between keeping what is essential and deleting the superfluous.
Example: use one strong background image reflecting the essence of your client’s brand, instead of displaying numerous images that convey different fragments.
#2 Make It Easy to Navigate
Logical navigation is the core of a highly usable website. The last thing visitors want to do when landing at your page is to quest for your navigation bar. Don’t hide it! Never sacrifice your user experience for unusual designs – put the most important website elements where your site’s visitors expect them to be.
#3 Ensure Your Website Structure Is Logical
By making your website structure logical, you’re actually feeding two birds with one scone: you improve your visitors’ experience and make your website more attractive to the kings of the web, search engines! Always remember to create a sitemap to feel the true love of the search engines. Logical structure demands in many case creating standard pages such as: About Us, Home, Contacts, etc. and related categories.
Suggestion: When uploading content to these pages, don’t forget to relink them.
#4 Create Keyword-Rich URLs
Think about the words you use in the links you create. By generating human-readable, semantic URLs you improve your website both in terms of SEO and usability. SEO benefits are obvious; more keywords in your URLs generate more love by the search engines. But what about your users? How is the structure of your URLs affecting your site’s visitors?
Well, web surfers prefer short, meaningful URLs that they can easily share with others. URLs containing signs like this ‘#*()%^ are often ignored. What’s more – when you see a list of readable links somewhere, you can easily define where they lead and you’ll feel more confident to take that trip.
#5 Make Your Text Links Visible
Adding links that are invisible to your site’s visitors – is like swallowing the key to a treasure box. What cannot be seen cannot be followed. If your normal inactive font color is black, navy isn’t the best option for the active state of a link. Your visitors will notice this link only when accidentally hovering above it and the odds for that aren’t very high. Choose contrasting colors for your links. Highly visibility will ensure ease-of-use by your site’s visitors, which will lead to more traffic to your target pages.
#6 Show Your Contact Forms on the Main Pages
By putting your contact page on a main page, rather than the “Contact” page itself, you’re taking away an extra step and click for people to contact you. They won’t have to leave your main page, the meat of your site, in order to send you a message.
#7 Improve Readability of Your Content
Web users don’t read articles from the very beginning and up to the end: they skip whole web pages looking just for keywords. Therefore, there’s no point in writing very long articles. Try to present valuable information in a concise form. Use headlines to emphasize the key points and help the reader jump to the relevant section.
Suggestion: use strong visual elements and infographics to highlight keywords and enhance readability.
#8 Diversify Your Content
Besides articles, there are many other ways to present information: videos, audios, slideshows, galleries, tutorials, etc. Many visitors will prefer a video lesson for instance over a textual presentation. Try to attract your site’s visitors with a variety of content forms.
#9 Use Social Plugins
Integrate as many social icons as possible – let your users share and bookmark the content they like effortlessly. The most popular trend concerning social plugins today is using fixed panes. With such a social plugin you don’t have to scroll down or up to see where the icons are located – they’re always in your reach.
#10 Be Consistent
Use the same web design solutions for all your pages. This can be applied to color themes, navigation, readability, plugins, and other web design elements. Consistency will help the ease of use of your site’s visitors and enhance the brand identity of your client, conveying a clear and unified message.
Designers are now re-thinking all the ways in which websites are used and how to improve the dialog between businesses and their clients through smarter webdesign. For many years the world wide web provided great user experience alongside many unpleasant traps lacking basic understanding of web design usability. Usability models become part of the toolkit of every graphic and web designers creating professional websites and I believe it is time for designers to lead the way in the creation of a better web for us all.
This article has been provided by ShmulikGrizim, the Co-Founder and CEO of Webydo, a professional SaaS platform that enables graphic designers to create and manage cross-platform business websites, without writing code. Using this sophisticated online software, designers can bring any web design to life and with a click of a button an advanced HTML website is published, including a friendly built-in CMS (Content Management System) and SEO management tools for the website’s owner.
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