How to ensure your website is user-friendly

The Internet is that enormous global marketplace that almost everyone in the world will visit on an almost daily basis. Granted, there is a huge, attentive audience for you to pick your customers from, but you and millions of other businesses are all vying for those potential customers’ attention. What makes people arrive at and stay on your website, and hopefully purchase your products and/or services?

It’s all in the user experience (UX), so if you pay attention to people’s behaviour on websites in general, you can customise your website to ensure that they engage with your website and spend money on your business.

1. Website layout

People in the more creative IT jobs like user interface design, web design, and graphic design will tell you that people find simple web pages a lot more appealing than those pages with tons of writing and lots of different colour on them. The more balanced white space you have, the better it will be for the user because they won’t feel bombarded with information, images and other objects demanding their attention. You should try to (easily and seamlessly) fit all the important stuff onto one screen that doesn’t require any scrolling down – studies have shown that people don’t automatically think to scroll down if they can’t find what they know should be on that page.

2. Simple navigation

It doesn’t help to have layers and layers of pages buried in complex navigation on a website. Website users will want to find information and/or products simply and quickly without wondering whether they’ve missed anything. Large, logical buttons, simple button text like “Go” or “Click” or “Next”, and easy-to-follow calls to action to be the objects that make your navigation simple. The navigation shouldn’t require a tutorial – it should be intuitive and easy to grasp within seconds of the user arriving on your website.

3. Regular content updates

Content remains the undisputed king in 2013, so if you want to attract and keep users, it’s best to keep your content offerings flowing. Have a separate, easy-to-find page for content/blog/information on your website and make sure you update it regularly with original content. Not only will this attract unique visitors, but it will keep them coming back for more on a regular basis.

4. Speed, speed, speed

One of the most important aspects of website appeal that many companies overlook is the loading speed of the website. You could have the most technologically advanced and highly appealing layout and content on your site, but if it takes longer than three to five seconds (and even that’s pushing it) to load, users will not stick around to see if their patience will be rewarded. Work with your web designer and hosting company to ensure that your website page load time is the epitome of speed efficiency.

Remember to ensure that all the links on your website work properly and also include all the social network buttons so that users are prompted to share and tweet the exciting aspects of their user experience with others.