Designers know it very well that how important usability is to their websites. No matter how much creative a website is or how much good the content is, visitors will not come to your website again if they can’t access the content easily. Usability is very important in making your website popular among your audience. When we say simplicity is web design, it means the ease of finding any content on the website. Creativity is a very good thing but, it won’t help you that much if the features on your website are not easy and pleasant.
Usability Tips for Designers
Usability helps your website to stand firm amongst thousands of websites. Visitors have so many reasons to leave the website such as; finding the website difficult, interface not functioning properly, content not found etc. Only the usability can save designers in persuading the visitors to stay and easily search what they came for. In this post, I will be giving some usability tips for the designers so that they can improve their websites usability. You can also share some of your own tips that you find helpful at the end of the article.
1. Always Add a Search Box
If a website contains a lot of information to share, adding a search box for the visitors is always helpful. Users always prefer those websites that give them an easy access to the data. Add a search box on the upper left or right corner of your website with a proper indication so that people can easily see it. Some designers who are just starting can use free search box facilities for their website such as the Google Custom Search.
2. Easy Readability
Make sure your content readability is absolutely great. It doesn’t matter how much good looking your website is, it’s the content that will engage the readers to stay and read every last word. There are different things that you can do to make your content readability excellent such as; Use good typefaces in the body copy, limit the font sizes, don’t use more than three typefaces, stress on body text carefully, make your alignment justified according to the content, keep the paragraphs short.
3. Organize the Content
Organizing the content is a very useful tactic for the designers that are looking to give usability to the users. Keep these useful points in mind while organizing the content on your webpage.
- Always keep that content first which concentrates on what the users want. Also the easy it is for the users to find the content, the more chances your websites generates to be on the top.
- Logically arrange your content according to what the users are searching.
- Carter your target audience first and organize the content according to them.
4. Regularly Update your Content
There is no use of working hard on your website if your content is old. A regularly updated content will make your website to grow more each day. There are different service firms that offer a complete responsibility to update your web design content daily while removing the old content from your website with the passage of time. If you are a freelancer or don’t have that much budget, you can also hire a content writer that can write for your website on daily basis.
5. Keep the Headings Bold and Attractive
There are many visitors that only browse through the website looking for something interesting to read. A catchy heading plays the key role of persuading those visitors to click and read the whole article and even make a comment on it. You can create a certain change by giving beautiful colors to fonts or choosing a nice looking typography. Keeping heading elements large helps the visitor to have a quick look at what the article or blog is about. You can also add a creativity element by experimenting with properties. Change them until you think they are fit for your content.
6. Provide Easy Navigation
Providing your visitors a smooth navigation will allow them to stick at your website for a long time. If they are not able to navigate easily on the website, it can be an easy excuse for them to leave your website. Follow these tips to make your navigation smooth.
- Label the links properly with understandable names
- Don’t forget to remove the dead links
- Always highlight the hyperlinks that are in the text body
7. Prepare Mobile-Friendly Design
8. Setting the Scroll Bar
The best designers always keep an eye on how the layout is looking or will look on the screen of the visitors. Setting a horizontal scroll bar is not appreciated by most of the users and they find it very annoying. You should checkout the optimized screen resolutions that visitors before designing the layout of your website. You can also use Google Analytics to do it for you. With increasing number of mobile visitors, designers must keep that resolution in mind that will fit for everyone.
9. Placing your logo
The best place where you should place your logo is on the top left corner of the site. You can put the menu of your webpage under it if you want other wise move it to right. The logo should take visitors back to the home page upon clicking it. Visitors don’t want to click the ‘go back’ button again and again to go to the main page. The easy you make it for the visitors, the better chance you give to your website of being visited again.
10. Use Negative Space
Believe it or not, negative space can be very helpful for your website. Giving proper white spaces between the lines can give easy readability to the user which in return makes your website favorite for the visitors to use. You should not ignore the benefits of negative space rather use them very attractively in your website. Negative spacing can prove to be a usability factor for the designer if it is properly managed.
11. Avoid Audio Music
If it doesn’t fit the purpose accurately, avoid adding music to your website. Visitors find it very annoying that as soon as they click, an audio music starts to play immediately. However, sites where the audio music is required for a specific purpose should also contain controls for the users so that they can also mute it if they find it annoying.
12. Make Links Noticeable
This is a very good way to give usability to your visitors. Between the texts when there are clickable links, make them noticeable by writing them in different colors so that visitors know about it. It has proved to be very helpful for the visitors to know that which link is clickable and which is not. Providing short permalinks give the ease of sharing the URL very easily. Visitors can paste in anywhere without any difficulty.
13. Be Reliable
Being consistent is always the best way. Keep your website very consistent and don’t change its interface every day. Whether you use full-width page or sidebar-included page, be solid on it. Other things such as; fonts, colors, and interface etc. should also remain as consistent as possible so that visitors don’t find it hard to navigate your site whenever they visit it.
14. Keep Your Web Design Simple
The simpler your web design is the better chances you have in persuading the visitor to come back again. If you are running a product/service based website, don’t make your visitors to search about the features and price of the product. Show the specs, description and prices on the very page. If the visitor is finding it easy, they will definitely remember to visit your site whenever they are searching for any product.
15. Test Your Website
This stage is very important for every designer. As soon as you complete your website, don’t think that work is done. The most important part comes after it which is testing your site in every possible environment. With technology improving rapidly, operating systems can now run almost any browser. Checking cross-compatibility of your website before launching it can prove to be a life saver. There are plenty of online tools that offer you a free website compatibility check.
16. Avoid Splash Pages
This alone can make your visitor not to come back again. A visitor is searching for a product and suddenly a full-page ad comes in front. This is the easiest way to make your visitors get annoyed and one of the biggest mistakes which some designers do. Just put the ad or promotion content on the main page or at the side of the page, so that visitors have the choice whether to click it or not. Believe me, there are plenty of other websites where visitors can go if they are not pleased with your site due to splash pages.
17. Buy a Domain
Although, it might sound strange but having own domain comes very handy. Visitors will know that you are professional and that they are using the right website for their purpose. Using a sub-domain will give them a feeling that you are using a free service. There are plenty of websites that offer hosting of a domain name in very reasonable amount of money. Always go for your own domain name website when you are using it for professional purposes.
18. Don’t Ignore Small Things
There is always a possibility that small things are ignored while creating any website but, it’s those small things that can make a huge impact on the visitors. Any small wordings such as; sorry the page is not available or the content not found if handled carefully can create wonders for the website. Designers should keep this in mind that these small things are very carefully looked by the visitors and can prove to be a bonus for the website and persuade customers to visit again.
19. Focus on External Sources
The research has proven that most of the users now visit any site through an external source such as; Google, Twitter, and Facebook etc. There is little possibility that users will directly visit your home page. You should focus on the search engines to let your customers know about any relevant information. Other websites can also link to your sites certain pages where the customers can find relevant information. Therefore, you should keep your focus more towards the external sources including different social media websites because; it can generate the traffic to your website more quickly than any other technique.
20. Provide a Contact form
Always add a “Contact Us” option at the end so that visitors can easily communicate with you about any problem or difficulty. Make sure that the contact form that you provided is easy understandable and is always in the working condition. Visitors can give their feedback to your from the contact us option or can tell you about any problem.
21. Free Registration
Websites do a big mistake by demanding a registration before entering to the site. If you feel it is necessary, then only ask for the basic information. Once you start asking too many questions, chances are that you will lose some of your potential customers. Any new visitor will answer few questions knowing that it is requirement but, if the questions are too many the visitors will not bother to answer it and will leave the site.
I hope these tips will come handy and will help you improve.