Your website is not just a manifestation of your company’s online presence. Neither is it only a means to educate your online visitors about your business offerings. It is so much more! If built with the right elements, your website can serve multiple purposes, including attracting traffic, boosting conversions and generating revenue for your business.
When engaging a web design company for developing your website, don’t stress on a visually appealing design only. Instead emphasise a layout that’s user-friendly, functional and practical. Not that it implies that an attractive design layout is not essential. Of course, it is! In all likelihood, a stunning layout is what will arouse the interest of your first-time visitors and make them want to stay on your site and explore it further. However, the odds are that your visitors won’t be keen to linger on for long if they find the site to be cumbersome to use or navigate. Thus, if you wish to keep your visitors engaged for a considerable amount of time, invest in a clean, easy-to-use and functional design that not only creates a positive first impression but also enhances the user experience, simultaneously influencing your customers’ purchasing patterns along the way.
So, what are the key elements that determine whether a website is user-friendly or not? Let’s find out.
The usability of your website can go a long way in determining its success on the Web. When it comes to web design, usability can have many implications. For example, it can mean your site’s readability i.e. whether the information on your web pages is organised, formatted and presented in a manner that is clear and readily understandable to your target audience. Your visitors should not struggle to get a gist of what you are trying to convey. They should find the information easy to digest and make sense of. Typically, a professional website design company will exploit crisp, quality content and good typography to address this requirement.
Usability can also indicate the findability of your site i.e. how quickly your visitors can unearth the product/information they are looking for. An example of this could be the appropriate placement of call-to-actions (CTAs) and commonly frequented topics such as FAQs and contact information in places where they are easy to locate and routinely searched for. Also, usability can have connotations of convenience i.e. whether your site’s layout helps visitors save on time and effort. Case in point is the ‘autofill’ or the voice-based search function of websites. Remember that when users find your site usable, they are more likely to spend time browsing your products and services. This increases their possibility of converting and making a purchase.
Ask yourself. Would you be patient enough to continue browsing a site if you had to deal with broken links or navigate through a plethora of menus to find the information you seek? Probably not! Most likely you would be quitting the site in frustration. And you wouldn’t be alone in doing so. Possibly your customers too would be doing the same if it took them forever to spot their desired products because of your site’s complex, multi-level navigations or haphazard page layouts. Thus, navigability is one aspect that you cannot afford to overlook when exploring design layouts for your company’s website.
Where sub-navigations become unavoidable because of the diversity or scale of offerings, a well-thought-out categorisation of products and judicious use of drop-down menus/lists can ensure your customers won’t have a harrowing time trying to locate the products or services they are after. Neither will they have to spend too much time in hunting information or offerings. A win-win for sure!
Gone are the days when customers accessed websites only on the big screens of desktops and laptops. Today, customers view sites over multiple devices, including tablets and mobiles. Hence, it will be wise of you to consider a responsive design that is optimised for browsing on devices with smaller screens. After all, you sure don’t want to make your visitors squint when they access your site on their phones, do you?
Another important consideration in the context of website accessibility is the compatibility of your site with different browsers. Nothing can be more exasperating for a user if he or she is unable to open your company’s website because of its incompatibility with a Chrome, IE or Mozilla Firefox. Browser compatibility is one of the most basic yet often neglected aspects of a user-friendly site. Make sure you don’t ignore this aspect when finalising the critical components of your web design.
Speedy load times
Always believed that “slow and steady wins the race”? Well, not so in the case of your website! Your online visitors have fleeting attention spans and you barely have a few seconds to grab their attention. The last thing you want is a site that takes ages to load. A slow-loading site is bound to annoy your prospects and can trigger early abandonment. High-definition videos, high-resolution images, third-party website plug-ins etc. are all notorious for dragging down a site’s speed considerably. Hence, if you want to avoid high bounce rates and ensure your site’s performance is not impacted, choose a web design that makes optimal use of these features.
Quality content tailored to the target audience
Last but not least, no amount of bells and whistles can make up for poorly drafted and shallow content. Even as you focus on the site’s visual aesthetics and UX-enhancing elements, don’t forget the core reason for your visitors landing on your web pages. They are after a specific product or service and they are looking for reliable information to help them make informed choices. As much as the presentation of information is important, it cannot supersede the content which has to have substance and must be relevant to your target audience. Also, while the content should be current and informative, it should not be overly verbose or baffle your readers with complex verbiage and industry jargons. The idea is to maintain a balance between all the design elements and keep the layout simple so that your customers have a seamless experience of using your site.