Your website is rich with SEO, has plenty of products and is starting to attract traffic. Yet you are still having issues keeping customers on your site and converting traffic into sales. Your user experience may be to blame. Discover 17 website design tips to make your website more user friendly.
1. Less is More
One of the best web design tips and best ways to make your site more user friendly is to execute the idea that less is more. You may think that every piece of information that ends up on your website is solid gold info. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Make sure that each page and post has a purpose. Write your company’s mission statement on your site, and ask yourself if each page backs up your mission statement.
The less “stuff” you have on your site the better. Your customers will be able to find what they are looking for more readily if you only include pertinent info.
2. Keep Your Menus Simple
The menu is one of the most important tools you can employ to lead your customers around your site. The first place most people go when they are looking for specific information is the menu.
Put basic navigation (home page, about, and contact us) in your menu. Customers are used to seeing this information and will feel uncomfortable if that info is not readily available. Make sure your menu makes sense to your users. Ask friends and family to test out your website. Ask them to find specific pieces of information. If they can’t find said information, try reworking your site.
3. Learn from the Masters
Visit your competitors’ sites to find out what they are doing right. This is one of the best web design tips. Start at the top. If you sell shoes, visit Zappos’s and Nike’s sites to find out how they structure their pages and products.
Visit a few smaller competitor sites to find out what they’re doing wrong. If you have issues placing items in your cart, would you abandon those items or keep trying to find a way to purchase them?
If there is functionality that you feel your users will benefit from, learn how your competition is doing it, and then customize it and adapt it to your experience to help your users solve their problems.
4. Keep Loading Time Down
The best in class user experience experts will tell you that one of the biggest reasons customers abandon websites is slow loading times. Make sure that there is plenty for your guests to read while they are waiting for photos to load. Keep photos to a minimum. Keep video to a minimum. Test your site at Google page speed analytics to ensure it passes all the Google page speed checks. If you get a decent rating, Google will let you know. If your rating isn’t so good, Google will recommend a few actions you can take to make your page load faster.
5. Keep It Safe for Work
Obviously, if you run an adult site, this won’t be the case. Safe for work in this case just generally means, “Will people want to look at this site at work?” A lot of your customers probably do a huge amount of surfing at the office. They might click away from your site immediately if your site has:
- Lots of loud audio
- Flashy videos
- Flashy java script
- Annoying pop-ups
Does this mean you can’t use video or pop-ups? Absolutely not. Just use these tricks at your discretion. Ask yourself if your site is something you’d want to look at while at work.
6. Make it Interesting
Does your website capture the attention of your customers? Does it have enough information to keep you entertained for hours? One of the hardest website design tips is getting enough content up on your site. Make sure your customers have enough to do or read to stay engaged for hours.
You should use a good variety of video, photos and text to keep your visitors entertained. Try to feed your readers small bits of text slowly. Don’t overwhelm people with huge blocks of text or data dumps.
7. Go for the Ask
What is the end goal for your website? What do you want your customers to do? Tell them! Ask for the sale. If you’re selling shoes, place plenty of “click here to buy” buttons on your site. If you want them to sign up for your email list, ask them to sign up for your email list.
Make sure you ask and ask often on your site. Don’t simply put an ask on your homepage and assume your customers will click when they are ready. Ask your customers over and over on various pages.
8. Use Above the Fold Content Wisely
Above the fold refers to the space on your site that your screen encompasses. It’s the first part of your site that your customers will see. The best in class user experience experts would tell you this very thing.
Most of us are too lazy or busy to bother scrolling down. This means that your customers might only see the information that’s “above the fold” if your above the fold information isn’t interesting enough to make them want to scroll to see more.
Give your customers plenty of reasons to scroll to see more. Tell your customers (above the fold) if you have degrees, accolades or impressive clients.
9. Check Mobile Compatibility
More and more people are using their phones, tablets, e-readers and iPads to browse the web these days. Make sure your website doesn’t alienate these people. Use a website theme that has good mobile compatibility. Your website should be just as easy to read and see on your phone as it is on your laptop or desktop computer.
10. Don’t Make Your Customer Work
Your customers won’t stick around on your website for too long if they need to work to do so. People love doing the least amount of work as possible—especially when it comes to surfing the net. Ensure that your website does the work for them by leading them around the site. Your customers should never need to worry if they are missing anything on your site or how to find products and services.
11. Create a Contact Form
Customers love the idea that they can ask for help at the click of a button. Create a contact form for any questions that might come up. It’s a good idea to place this contact form at several spots on your site—in case your customers miss the first placement. Add your form to the bottom of every page, and include the contact form in your menu bar.
Don’t overdo it with the form fields though. Keep it simple and only collect the information needed to contact the lead and get an idea of what they need.
12. Use Links Wisely
Links should always be used on a website to increase the user’s experience. There are two types of links that can help your customers get the best experience possible: inbound links and outbound links.
Inbound links lead your customers to different areas of your site. You can use these links in articles or directly on your homepage. The links you include on your homepage should lead your customers to the important pages you want them to notice. The links from other articles can help keep customers on your site longer. They can include text and info such as, “If you like this article, find out more about this topic here.”
Outbound links add value to your site. Create outbound links to help users find out more about a topic when you might not be the expert on that topic. You can also use links to site a source. When adding an outbound link, allow the link to open in a new tab or window. This way customers will be able to easily find their ways back to your site.
13. Lead Your Customer Around Your Website
Your customers have no idea how your website works. This is why you need to lead them around the site yourself. Place all pertinent information above the fold on the homepage. Add secondary information in the section below. Finally, add your nuts and bolts to the section at the bottom of your homepage. Cornerstone content should always be easily accessible. Your customers should always be able to tell where they’re supposed to click to get to the corresponding information.
14. Create a Search Field
One of the easiest ways to give customers a better experience on your site is to create a search box that pops up at the top of every page. Many customers come to a site because they want specific information. They often leave sites when they cannot find said information. Adding a search box allows your customers to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily.
15. Use Carousels Wisely
Many web developers use carousels to show customers a selection of products or some of their best articles. Try to use these carousels sparingly. Most people won’t click the “more” button on a carousel to see more items that don’t immediately show up on the homepage. This means that your clients won’t see your best work if it’s hidden behind another article in the carousel. Try adding category buttons, images and icons to your homepage that lead your customers to these pages and information instead.
16. Include Social Sharing
Add sharing buttons to your content to allow your customers to bookmark and share your content without hassle. These days, most people are used to sharing information easily at the click of a button. Make sure you make people’s lives easier by including these buttons on your site in the places most people are used to finding them. Add sharing buttons to the sidebar or at the footer of an article. Many people will use these to share, but some may use them to reference back to a page or article if they don’t have time to read the article immediately.
17. Create a FAQ Page
Once you have a solid customer base, you’ll probably start getting tons of questions about your website. Make sure your user experience is solid by including a frequently asked questions page to ensure your life (and your customers’ lives) get a little easier. If you are consistently getting these questions, it’s clear that your website isn’t answering them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve failed your customers. There’s just some information that you can’t possibly logically fit into a section on your website. Create a FAQ page, and include this information. Place your FAQ page in your menu for easy access.