Usability in website design is becoming more and more important these days. Users are becoming less patient - expecting things quicker and with less effort. There's also the ever growing range of devices which people use to access your website. People are on the go, so a mobile-friendly, responsive web design is also crucial. If your website doesn't provide users with the content they're looking for as quickly and easily as possible, the temptation to leave and go elsewhere is greater than ever.
Ultimately, happier users are more likely to convert. So - what should your website be doing to ensure users are happy? The below should be considered for all devices.
1. Clear website navigation.
More often than not, your website header will be one of the first and most viewed areas of the site - as in most cases, it (should!) contain your website navigation. Things to think about when deciding your navigation:
- All items should be relatable. A user should never question what something means, or where it goes to.
- Don't present too many items at once, as users will find it overwhelming.
- If you have a hierarchy of categories and pages, ensure things are logically grouped. If a user is looking for a particular page, that you've placed inside a category - would it occur to them to look inside that category?
- Every item in your navigation should have a clear hover and active state. Hover states confirm to users they're about to interact with something. Active states confirm where a user is in the site - providing orientation.
Above all though, your navigation should be structured in such a way that it guides users through the site, setting them on a journey...
2. User journey.
A user journey is the path a user takes through pages and content, in order to reach something. That 'something' could be a whole range of things. They may have something specific in mind they're looking for, but ideally, your website should be purposefully leading them on a journey which results in them achieving one of your website goals. Along that journey, they should be finding out everything they need to know, gradually building their confidence to convert along the way. This is where your website content and call to actions are crucial.
When it comes to websites (believe it or not), users really aren't that fussed on reading your content. Sure, most want an understanding of who you are and what you do - but they don't want to spend ages reading through endless areas of text. That's why it's important that your content is balanced and doesn't overwhelm the user. Things to aim for with your website content:
- Ensure your content is human readable, whilst naturally targeting popular Google search terms. This will increase your chances of a higher Google ranking.
- Users like to scan. So use engaging headings, and shorter areas of text. Break written content up with visual assets to keep users interested, such as icons, imagery and video.
- Like the user journey, your content should lead users to an action. If your content is balanced and not overwhelming, these call to actions will stand out even more, increasing the chances of a user interacting with them.
For more guidance, have a read of "Website content: the guide to getting it right"
4. Call to actions.
A call to action is when you ask the user to do something, normally to aid with achieving your website goals. This can be a range of things, such as clicking a button, downloading something, or more often than not - filling out a form. Your call to actions should be:
- Prominent: make it clear and obvious to the user what they're about to do.
- Repeated: the user should never have to look too far in order to do what you'd like them to. Common actions are often displayed at the top and bottom of a page.
- Engaging: think about the text you use. Form button text that says "Start my free trial" is much more intuitive and engaging than "Submit".
- Large: especially on tablet and mobile, where you have to consider the touch target.
5. Short forms.
There's nothing worse than being greeted by a long form that requires a lot of effort to fill in. The chance of a user filling in your form decreases with every question you add. Yes, some of that information may be needed for your business behind the scenes - but is it needed at that point of the process? Is there an opportunity for you to gather that information later on, after the person has converted? Here are some things you should think about before adding them to your next form:
- Phone number: will the person be contacted by phone, or is it just for your records?
- Company name: is there a chance to obtain this later on?
- Job role: is it really relevant at this stage?
- Subject: the context of the enquiry should be in the main body - don't ask the user to summarise for your benefit.
Paying attention to the above points will certainly help keep your website users happier. And a happier user is much more likely to convert. Do you really want to run the risk of losing out to your competition, because your website isn't up to scratch?
If you're in need of a new web design, then we can help. We'll ensure that both your business and your users are happy from start to finish. We also offer graphic design and branding too - helping businesses across the board.