In 2019, there is no need to prove that every business that intends to reach out to an audience that goes beyond the denizens of the street it is located on should have a website. It is also hardly necessary to look for reasons to make your website user-friendly — after all, all the surveys and studies into the matter keep showing time and again that usability is the first (and often the only) thing visitors pay attention to. Eighty-eight percent of online consumers claim they are doubtful to come back to a site after a bad experience of interacting with it. It means that you lose customers every day your website “wears” a design people believe to be not user-friendly. However, what does a user-friendly website really mean in 2019? Let us find out.
1. Mobile-first design
A vast majority of users believe that the mobile version of a website should be at least as good as the desktop one (or better). This means that you have no choice but to use responsive web design — meaning design that adapts itself to the device the visitor uses and looks consistently good across a wide range of them. Moreover, today, you are not expected to add a mobile version as an afterthought. Mobile-first is considered by many to be the only viable strategy for a variety of reasons. Mobile Internet usage has surpassed desktop usage as long ago as in 2016, and smartphone sales have exceeded PC sales even earlier (in 2012). Many people only use mobile devices to access the Internet. It means that whether you like it or not, but you have to put mobile at the forefront of your design decisions.
2. Part of a bigger picture
Virtually anybody can build a website these days with a little trial and error — a variety of accessible tools makes sure of this. However, it does not mean that everybody can build a good website. Long gone are the times when a website existed as an individual entity — if you want it to bring the maximum result today, you have to create it while keeping in mind the rest of your online presence: social media, messengers, customer support, etc. When somebody visits your website, they should encounter a seamless experience incorporating multiple platforms — which is easily achievable only with the help of a professional digital marketing agency.
3. Loading times
Forty-seven percent of users expect a website to load no longer than two seconds. It means that every second beyond this point loses you progressively more and more potential customers. In addition, 39 percent of people will stop dealing with a website if its images do not load or take too long to do it. What does it mean for you? Test your website for speed and make sure it loads quickly even with a slow Internet connection (even today not everybody has a broadband connection, especially among mobile users). Make sure to update and fix broken images regularly.
One of the most important features for a user-friendly website (especially its main page) is its readability/scanability. People, on average, spend very little time before making a decision about staying or leaving (some studies show that this decision takes as little as 50 milliseconds). This means that you should present your content in a form that makes it extra easy to scan and find some signs that it contains the necessary content. You can achieve it by:
- Using enough easily visible keywords, your customers are likely to look for.
- Not burying the visitor under loads and loads of content. Keep it short, simple, and obvious. Make it easy to see that your visitor has already found what they need and do not need to look further.
Also, make sure your content is easy to perceive. Color scheme, font type, and size – all this will contribute to the website’s readability.
5. Ease of navigation
If visitors cannot find what they want quickly, they are more likely to leave and try their luck elsewhere than to persevere and dig out the necessary content from a website with confusing navigation. Remember that there are most likely dozens of alternatives to yours to choose from. Create navigation that feels natural not just to you but to everyone who visits your website for the first time. The fewer clicks the visitor has to make to reach the content they look for, the lower your bounce rate is going to be.
6. Readiness to listen
Quite often, website owners ignore seemingly the most obvious source of insights for design improvements — their visitors. People who use your website usually have an obvious idea of what they like and do not like about it. Creating a channel for feedback will help you gather their opinions and get valuable insights. They will help you determine what your website lacks faster and more precisely than focus groups and dedicated A/B tests.
7. Calls to action
In the long run, you create a website not because you want to show off its beautiful design but to persuade the visitor to take a particular action: make a purchase, subscribe, fill in a form, etc. So, ask yourself this: Does your website have strong and obvious calls to action in logical places? If a visitor makes a decision to buy or subscribe after looking through your content, they should be able to do it easily and immediately, without having to look for ways to do it. Strike the iron while it is hot — or, rather, give them an opportunity to make the necessary action before they change their mind or simply gets distracted by something else.
If you want your business to succeed these days, you need a user-friendly website — there can be no two opinions about it. Finding the right approach to achieving this goal is a less trivial task — but with the right tools, help, and know-how, you can do it without much hassle.
Featured image: Pixabay