Making your website more user-friendly allows you to fulfill your visitors’ needs. Not only that, but it also enables you to define the brand-consumer relationship and guide users to the actions you want them to take.
A user-friendly website will attract more visitors, and visitors will stick around longer, thus increasing conversions. In this article, you will learn six crucial design tips to make your website more user-friendly.
1. Improve Your Website’s Layout
A clunky, non-intuitive website won’t satisfy your users’ needs. You need to think from the perspective of a visitor who lands on your site for the first time without knowing anything about you. To start with, make your website compatible with all devices.
A website that is not compatible with mobile devices will lose out. There’s just no way around it. Half or more of all global website traffic comes from mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones.
Fortunately, making your website compatible with mobile devices and tablets isn’t that complicated. You just need to choose a mobile-responsive theme that will automatically adapt the page to mobile devices of any size.
There may still be some bugs here and there that you will need to look at, as a mobile-responsive theme doesn’t mean errors won’t pop up on specific devices. Common mobile-responsiveness issues include pop-ups that are hard to close on mobile devices, drop-down menus that don’t work well on mobile devices, text that is too wide for the screen, forms that are hard to fill out on mobile, buttons that don’t work, and so on.
Fortunately, you can use a tool like the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to discover mobile-responsiveness issues on your site.
You should also make your website ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant. Businesses that fall under the “public accommodation” category (such as hotels) or operate 20 or more weeks per year and employ at least 15 employees must make their websites accessible to people with disabilities, including people who must navigate through assistive technologies such as text-to-voice reading.
You can read more about the ADA Standards on ADA.gov. You may also find this ADA compliance checklist helpful.
2. Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
By making your website easy to navigate, you can help visitors find the products and services they are looking for, thus increasing sales. You can also gently guide them to your landing pages, product pages, signup pages, etc.
Have a logical information structure. That means that products should be placed under relevant categories. Blog posts should be categorized and tagged as well.
A proper URL structure not only makes your website easier to navigate, but it also helps Google’s algorithms figure out what each page is about, thus improving your SEO rankings for your target keywords. Your menu should reflect your information structure.
Avoid giving users too many options at once. Too many businesses fail to think from the customer’s perspective and instead are too focused on what they want. They add too many calls to action, links, menu options, etc.
Including too many options doesn’t actually increase conversions. In fact, it does the opposite. Your visitors may get overwhelmed and leave without actually purchasing anything.
Instead, focus on including the calls to action, menu options, informational pages, and product pages that matter the most. These can be landing pages that have higher conversion rates or those that bring in more profits per visitor or sale.
3. Create Content That Is Easy to Digest
A sure way to make your website more user-friendly is to focus on making your content easier to read and digest. People don’t tend to read articles online. That sounds like a bold statement, but it is true: People tend to scan articles rather than read them. That has been true since 1997.
Therefore, your goal should be to make your content easier not just to read but to digest, even if a reader is just scanning your article.
The best way to make your content easier to digest is to break it up with headings and subheadings. Each section should have its own header, and you should further break up topics into subtopics, preceded by subheadings. Optimize your subheadings to summarize the point you are making in the following paragraph or paragraphs.
If you do that, people should be able to digest your article’s message by just skimming through the article and reading the headings and subheadings.
Clearly communicate what you have to offer. Don’t beat around the bush or go off on tangents. Don’t talk about unrelated topics, especially if they won’t be of interest to most readers. Instead, consider adding a link to an article that discusses the unrelated issue. It could be an article you wrote or a quality blog post on another authoritative site.
Use calls to action to increase conversion rates. Calls to action should be clear and visible. Think of big buttons, floating bars, pop-ups, and widget calls to action. However, don’t use flashing colors, animations, or other design features that can be distracting or annoying.
Use simple language in your blog posts and landing pages. Did you know that the average American only has an eight-grade reading level? Using complex words won’t help as much as you think it will. In fact, it may hurt you. Using a tool like Readable, you can ensure your content is readable to a majority of visitors. Aim for around an eighth-grade reading level.
4. Have a Consistent Look Across Your Website
Maintaining a consistent look across your website will make your website easier to navigate overall. That starts with your content. Create a style guide for your writers to follow so that your blog posts follow the same general structure and use the same rules for heading capitalization, keyword frequency, image usage, and so on.
Use recognizable elements. For example, if you want to add a link, make sure to highlight it in blue, as is the standard across the web. If you are inserting a call to action at the end of each blog post, use the same button style so people can recognize right away that it is a call to action.
5. Embrace Simplicity
As mentioned before, including too many options is often counterproductive. Embrace simplicity in your overall design. Have a professional, clean look. Make your menu options streamlined and avoid cluttering your website with too many ads, pop-ups, self-playing videos, social sharing buttons, and other distracting elements.
Use white space on your website, including on your homepage, blog posts, and landing pages. That will make your website easier on the eyes. A lack of white space or too much clutter will be overwhelming and can increase bounce rates and lower conversions.
6. Improve Your Website’s Load Speed
Finally, make sure your website loads quickly enough. A slow-loading website is one of the most common reasons for high bounce rates. People have low attention spans online, and if your website takes even a second or two too long to load, many people will lose patience and leave. It sounds harsh, but clicking the back button is incredibly easy, especially on mobile devices, and there are thousands of other results on Google people can look to for information.
In addition, page load speed is also a factor for SEO. Google’s algorithms look at page load speed when determining rankings because they know it directly affects the user experience.
Fortunately, however, you can fix most page load problems quickly. First, avoid clutter. Clutter doesn’t just make your website harder to navigate. It also slows down your website. Extra elements, pop-ups, and images all take additional time to load.
Compress all elements before uploading them. Use a plugin like WP Smush to compress images and save space. That won’t affect the quality of the picture. Instead of uploading videos to your web servers, upload them to Youtube or Vimeo and embed them on your website using shortcode.
There are many other things you can do to speed up your website. Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool can help you discover issues slowing down your website. The data it gives you can be very technical, but this guide can help you decipher what it is telling you.
You can also consider using a caching plugin, like WP Super Cache, to improve page load times. The plugin will store a static cached version of each page (somewhat like a file copy of the page) on your website and serve that stored data to the majority of your visitors.
Wrapping It Up
Making your website more user-friendly isn’t a one-time task. It’s a process that you have to constantly work on. Monitor visitor activity on Google Analytics and consider using a Heatmap tool like Aurora Heatmap to discover problems your visitors face and fix them. For example, if visitors are landing on a specific page but quickly leaving, see if that page has errors or is hard to navigate. Give visitors an option to submit feedback about bugs and errors as well.
If you want to find out more information on what features should be included in your homepage design, check out 5 Ways to Brilliantly Boost Your Website Curb Appeal.