Website usability and functionality
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” ISAAC NEWTON
Don’t you just hate it when it takes forever to find what you’re looking for? We do.
There’s nothing that drives visitors from your site like chaos and confusion. The layout and structure, along with easy and intuitive navigation, must make users feel comfortable. The key to a good user experience is simplicity.
It should be very simple for visitors to find what they’re looking for without clicking all over the place or facing distractions. People usually visit websites to get information and, if they can’t get that information within a couple of clicks, the third click will be to get off your site.
Don’t distract your visitors. Each page on your site should focus on a single, specific topic.
Design your site with plenty of “white space”—empty space, or the spacing in your typography. That’s the space for your visitors, and makes them feel at home. A full page of small, tightly spaced content will turn off most visitors.
Photos, images, and videos can complement quality content, but don’t overdo it. More is not necessarily better.
Make it super easy to use. Use concise but descriptive names on the navigation labels to tell visitors what each page is about.
Ideally, every page on your site should be accessible from any other page in no more than two clicks. And remember that people are accustomed to several different types of navigation, so stick with something that’s familiar to them.
Categorize your content by topic. This makes it easier for visitors to find the information that interests them. A site full of pages with no particular structure is like a textbook without chapters.
There’s a secondary benefit to having a well-organized and easy-to-follow site structure. Visitors may come to your site looking for specific information. But after they’ve found what they’re looking for, they may very well check out other pages, because they can see other interesting topics with just a glance.
home Page structure
Are you trying to get everything you’ve got on your home page—a series of rotating banner images (sliders), newsletter signups, recent blog posts, etc.? Every extra thing you add to your home page, or any other page for that matter, distracts your visitors and competes for their attention. Sliders are a good example of this, and studies show that they’re ineffective and can even be counter productive.
Don’t treat your visitors like they’re idiots. They know what they’re after. Give them the freedom to explore the site the way they want to. As long as your site is laid out in an easy-to-follow structure, they’ll do exactly that. However, feel free to suggest other information on your site that’s related to what they’re already interested in, either by text or visual links.
Headings and sub-headings should be obvious so they catch the readers’ eye when they scan the page. Some of your content, especially the page heading and first paragraph, should be “above the fold” on most devices. Images are great, but if they take up the entire screen, visitors may never bother with your content.
Visitors are just as interested in you as in your content. Create an “About Us” page or section that lets them know what you’re all about. And make it easy for them to contact you.
When someone fills out a form, signs up for your newsletter, or takes some other action on your site, make sure you let them know they were successful. Saying, “Thanks for signing up.” or “Your submission has been received.” lets them know they can move on to the next thing. Otherwise, they might keep resubmitting or become frustrated and leave your site.
Text and Background Colours and Fonts
Don’t try to get fancy, especially if you’re not an experienced designer. Stick to the basics—dark, easy-to-read fonts and a light background (unless you’re like our designer and can actually make the reverse work).
Many websites use pop-ups for ads or sign-up forms. Make them as gentle as possible. Users can easily become annoyed if there’s a pop-up in the middle of their searching or reading.
Graphics, images, and videos can be a great supplement to your content, but avoid overuse.
Make sure you have reliable hosting so your site has no significant downtime. People generally won’t try to return to a site they find inaccessible.
Broken links—“404 Page Not Found” errors will usually result in prospective clients searching for another site. Make sure that, if a page isn’t found, you give visitors n way to find the content they were looking for.
Test your site on all popular browsers. What works on one browser may not work on another. Additionally, your site should be responsive—displaying properly on any screen size: desktops, laptops, iPads, and phones. Make sure your content is easy to read on all devices.