A User Friendly site goes a long way
New companies often succeed or fail on the strength of their online presence. No matter how useful the product, vital the information or valuable the services, a poorly designed website sends a message to prospective customers and clients that your organization may not have all of its technical ducks in a row. Your website should never be an obstacle to climb. It should be an open door that anyone can walk through and feel immediately at home. This can be easier said than done, but with a little planning and a keen eye, a great looking, easy-to-navigate site can become a reality. Here are three simple strategies for making a user friendly site.
Building a website is partially a technical endeavor and partially a creative one. Both journeys start by finding websites with designs and features that you find appealing. Start viewing other websites with a more critical eye. How do they balance text and images? Where do they place the most vital information? If you knew nothing about the company, how quickly could you locate that information? If the site has a retail element, how easy is it to find and purchase a product?
You most likely want to look at websites that do a similar business to you, but don’t hesitate to use unrelated sites for inspiration as well. For example, the primary site for Apple Rubber, an industrial rubber fittings company, is a great example of web design. Even though the company sells a specific product, its site is designed for anyone to use. Key product and service information is located at the top, and a quick scroll takes you to a video that acts as an introduction to the company and its mission statement. Its business is technical, but the site is pure creativity.
Keep It Clean and Simple
Think of a website like a brick-and-mortar store. If the aisles are disorganized and there’s no proper signage to lead people around, they won’t be able to find what they’re looking for and you won’t be able to give it to them. No matter how complicated the inventory, stores still find ways to lead consumers exactly where they need to be. The key is to keep it simple, and it’s the same for website design.
Every time someone logs onto a new website, they have to learn how to use it. And it’s up to a savvy designer to teach them. This requires organizing information in a way that places the most relevant items at the top of the screen. You also need to incorporate a clear menu structure for separates categories in a meaningful way. People should be able to easily navigate between pages without losing a sense of where they are in your web environment. The worst thing a visitor can say is, “How did I get here?” Always use clear headings or simple visual markers to let your user know where they are in your world.
Scalability Is Important
Users typically access the web from their phones or tablets, which means that your site needs to be scalable to a number of devices in order to make an impression. Gone are the days of simply shrinking the desktop version of your site down to fit smaller screens. Users expect sites that they view on their touch-enabled devices to be more image-driven, with larger tapable links and app-friendly interfaces. Phones and tablets make it easier for users to access your site from the subway or an airplane, so it’s up to you to make the experience worth their while.