Recently, I stumbled upon a website that completely threw me for a loop. I didn’t know where to look first with all the flashing sidebars, rotating banners, wordy text boxes and bright colors. It was downright distracting! While the company was completely legitimate and actually offered some pretty cool services, their website deterred me from exploring any further. With the growing importance of having a successful online presence, a poor website design or layout can come down to a company’s success or failure. So, with that in mind, I’ve outlined my top five tips for keeping your website user-friendly, yet informative:
- Keep it Accessible: Having a website that loads quickly is probably one of the most important aspects in today’s on-demand society. Studies have shown that people’s patience will not last if they have to wait even just three to five seconds for a website to come up. There are technologies out there to help avoid latency and site downtime, such as application deliver controllers (ADCs), that might be worth the investment!
- Keep it Simple: A simple layout is much more user friendly than one that forces users to navigate complex links or scroll endlessly to find what they’re looking for. Having too much text often buries the point and benefits that viewers are searching for. Keep the homepage light on text, only bringing out the important aspects and then directing visitors to other sections of the site where they can find additional information.
- Keep it Easy to Navigate: Frequent website viewers get accustomed to navigating a certain layout – usually with tabs along the top or left hand sidebar for additional information. Maintaining this level of familiarity not only keeps users from getting frustrated when searching for the “About Us” descriptor or “Contact Us” details, but also allows the homepage to be light on text by directing people to other sections for more in-depth details. In that same vein, having a search bar for your website is a big advantage!
- Keep it Readable: Selecting a font and size that’s “easy on the eyes” is a good start. If people need to zoom in just to see what’s written in the header, that’s not good. Same goes for the website dimensions. Each page should fit nicely in the browser window, without forcing viewers to scroll horizontally. Also, avoid background images or sketches behind the text. Anything but solid color makes it too difficult to read.
- Keep it Pleasing to the Eye: Bright colors and flashing banners are often considered too distracting. While everyone’s taste is different, generally having a consistent color theme that’s not too jarring is best.
**Image courtesy of Vtech Web