Beauty isn’t everything
Let’s start with the most basic fact. Your website could be the most beautiful website one has ever seen (ok, that’s slightly dramatic, but it could look really, really good) but if it’s not built to be user friendly, it may as well be like my old MySpace, circa 2003, bad haircut an’ all. Having a website that isn’t easy to navigate is one of the most off-putting things to a potential customer. A recent survey by Hubspot.com showed that over 75% of respondents believe the most important aspect of a website is the ease of use to find the information they need.
Usability, or the User Experience, is the journey that the customer goes on when they land on your site, and it’s an integral part of the process. Don’t make your visitors search for the information they need. Throw it at them.
Be the customer
Look at your website from a customer’s perspective. Where are your contact details? Is it obvious where the customers should go? Are links and buttons designed so that it’s obvious they are to be clicked on? Does the website follow a logical flow? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then your website design has not been developed with user experience in mind.
What to do?
There are a few simple steps you can take to make your website more user friendly that shouldn’t cost the earth or take too much time to implement. Firstly, make sure your company logo is at the top of each page; preferably the left. Make it a link to the homepage so that the visitor can always navigate back.
Make sure your navigation pane (your menu, list of pages) is either across the top of the site or down the side, but always above the fold – i.e. it can be clicked on at any point and isn’t covered. If you can, think about adding a search function too.
Be careful with your content. Make sure it is concise, relevant and as jargon free as possible. Don’t overdo it either – if your site is too wordy then visitors will get bored and navigate away. Use key words and phrases to keep readers engaged, and only use images that complement the text, don’t use confusing or conflicting images.
Use Google analytics and programmes to test your page speed. Image size as well as design can affect the speed of each page, how quickly it loads. Google will rank you according to how quickly your pages load for them, and you can be penalised by them if the issues aren’t fixed, so make sure you follow their advice on how to improve the speed of your pages so they don’t pull your rankings.
Don’t neglect smartphones
Make sure your site is operational across all platforms including mobile phones and tablets. The use of mobile web surfing has exploded since the introduction of the smart phone and will only grow. Your website needs to be simple to use for anyone on any device.
By implementing some small but important changes to your website to make it more user friendly, this improved experience should then begin to turn more visitors into customers. Just remember to keep it simple and contact us if you need help optimising your website.