Have you ever left a website and couldn’t find what you're looking for? This is most likely due to the fact that many businesses don’t understand that usability is essential for the success of a website. Although a great design and well-written content are important, they aren’t the only tools needed when creating a successful website. Good website usability is about making it easy for users to find the information they need — easily and quickly.
Here are six essential characteristics for making a website user-friendly:
- Fast loading speed - A slow speed site will frustrate users, which causes them to leave your website. Make sure your website is optimized as much as possible. Having a fast- loading speed site will lead to a better user experience. Website average load time should be around 3 seconds. To learn more about how fast a website should load, check out this blog from Blue Corona.
- Mobile Compatibility - Today, more and more users are browsing the internet via their mobile devices. In fact, as of March 2020, over 51% of all global web traffic occurs on a mobile device. Having a mobile-compatible website helps users to view your site without having to zoom in, or scroll left, right, up or down to try to figure out how the site works. Make sure to always check your site to see how your website appears on mobile.
- Consistent Page Layout - Consistent interface elements (page content, site navigation, company logo, page layout, color, etc.) makes it easy for visitors to navigate through the site and find the information they need. If your site is inconsistent, it frustrates the user and slows them down, which causes them to leave the site and go somewhere else.
- Simple Navigation - When a user enters your site, the first thing they would like to see is a simple navigation tool. This helps users explore the site easily without having to dig around for hidden information. A good navigation tool has only five maximum links in the main navigation bar. If a site requires more detail, links can be added on the dropdown navigation bars. However, it’s important to remember too many links can confuse and overwhelm users. Navigation link labels should also be short and clearly define the content that a user will find on that page.
- Make Content Easy to Digest - When users are looking for information on your website, they don’t want to have to search through a lot of information. If you want your website to be easily readable for the growing mobile audience that scans rather than reads every line of text, simply add a content hierarchy, clear visual cues to the reader, by using clear defined headlines. This breaks your content up and makes it easy to identify specific sections of content. Having too much content in one block of copy can overwhelm users. To learn more about content hierarchy, check out this article by Jackie Petre.
- Pay Attention to CTAs - Adding a clear call-to-action on every page will encourage users to take your desired actions. A few examples of call-to-actions include: Contact Us, Learn More, Download, and Get a Quote. Sometimes a little encouragement is all users need to move to the next step.
Creating a user-friendly website is just as important as deciding what your site looks like. If you’re building a new site or revamping your current one, consider using these six usability characteristics to create a successful website and help increase your website conversions. For more essential characteristics, check out this article.
And, if you need support making your website user-friendly, shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to provide you some recommendations.