02 May 2013

Web Design Tips for Better Usability

Website usability is a big issue for developers and users. Your website needs to be as user friendly as possible. If your visitors become frustrated trying to find the information they need, they will click off your website and a conversion opportunity is lost. Here are 10 web design tips for better usability.

Tap Into How People Read a Website

  • Two studies done by Dr. Jakob Neilson and the marketing firms Did-it and Enquiro have shown people scan websites in a F shaped pattern. This is also known as the Google Golden Triangle. Most people start in the top left corner and scan down and to the right while viewing website. Concentrate your most important information in this area.
  • Studies have also shown people only read about 28% of the text on a page. This means your content has to be golden and you need to get your point across quickly.
  • Most people read webpages from left to right. This means if you use sidebars place them on the left side. If your page is in Hebrew or another language that reads from right to left, this should be reversed.

The Look of Your Website Matters

  • Make use of white space to make your text more readable. Studies have shown that the use of white space not only makes your website look cleaner, but increases reader comprehension.
  • If you must go past the fold, use less content above the fold. This encourages readers to scroll down and will keep them on your webpage.
  • Pay attention to small details. The font and color of a button can sometimes mean a conversion or a click through. Instead of the annoying 404 message, try a polite two to three sentence message and a search option.

The Performance of Your Website

  • Your website needs to load quickly on all devices. Mobile users are just that, mobile. They don’t have time to wait for your website full of graphics and flash to load on their devices. Test out your website loading times on several devices to be sure it loads quickly.
  • Make sure your links are up to date. If you make revisions on your website, you’ll need to check the links to be sure they are still active.
  • Park a tool bar at the top of the page. As they scroll down the tool bar stays on top of the page. This will make sure your visitors can navigate your site easily. Also don’t overuse the search option. It is better to have good navigation than to rely on a search box.
  • Make sure your landing pages are optimized. A study by Gerry McGovern showed in 2010 only five percent of conversions originated from your home page. By having the right SEO on each landing page your pages will show up in search results. This will drive traffic to landing pages and your conversion rates will increase.
These are 10 web design tips for you to use to increase your website’s usability. Your website needs to be attractive, easy to read, and easy to use. Don’t ignore the details and just concentrate on the big picture,all of the elements of your website work together to increase usability.

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