Improving Website Usability Is As Easy As 1-2-3
Creating a web page these days is easy.
Even if you’re an inexperienced business owner with no web design knowledge, as long as you can register your own domain, you can have your very own website in minutes. Don’t expect it to be one of those animated, popular websites though. But definitely – unlike years before – it’s possible to introduce your online presence in just a few clicks.
The downside is that it won’t be as pleasing to the eyes. Compare it to the work of an expert web design company for example, a DIY website will lack one of the most important factors when it comes to user experience: usability. And this ONE thing can make or break your online authority.
When people visit a web page, they expect many things from it; one being ease of navigation. Aside from pretty pictures and cool transitions (the lack thereof can be forgiven), users want to know how to get information immediately without having to do guesswork. A website that seems like a puzzle will most likely be abandoned in less than 3 seconds.
So how do you improve usability? There are actually three – yes, three! – simple ways to do it. All you need is to focus on a web page’s main aspects: layout, speed, and aesthetics.
1. Make Them Love The Layout
• Trim unnecessary content such as too much text, unrelated images, or removing heavy videos that don’t add value to your message.
• Strategically place important info where users eyes tend to linger. These would be ‘above the fold’ (that area that first appears onscreen with no need to scroll down) and on the left-hand side of the page.
• Create a navigation bar that looks the same for ALL pages. Make sure it’s located at the SAME place each time as well.
• Fix dead end and/or orphan pages.
Dead end pages are not linked to anything – not the homepage or any outgoing link. Orphan pages on the other hand, are pages that cannot be easily found because there are no links on-site pointing to it. This hurts SEO because Googlebot won’t be able to find them. Make sure you optimize them by providing links to inner pages within your site.
2. Build It For Speed
• Keep loading time within 2-3 seconds. Use vector images that remain clear and crisp no matter the viewing platform. Cut back on animation or heavy transition effects. Include videos only if relevant.
• Make sure video does not stall when watched. Videos that keep on buffering are likely to be abandoned by 4 out of 5 users.
• Check-out pages should load within 2 seconds. This is very important for online shoppers.
3. Keep Aesthetics Simple Yet Beautiful
• Use HD or vector images as they are sharper than most file types.
• Take advantage of contrasting colors to create atmosphere and impact (red and black, black and white, white and blue). Refer to the color wheel to know which shades suit one another best.
• Stick to 2-3 web fonts only. Use the same mood or font styles with complimentary moods. If using just a single font family, combine different weights to achieve a balanced effect.
Disclaimer: Don’t be content with something good when you know it can be better. These are just the basics for improving website usability. To get more bang for your buck, get professional advice – preferably, from a reliable web design agency. They have skilled web developers and designers who are capable of spotting the smallest details.