What are the characteristics of a user-friendly website?
Let's start with the question: what does a user-friendly website really mean? When can we say that a site is such and such? Simply put, a user-friendly site is one that meets the requirements of visitors. It's pleasant to use, has an intuitive layout, and doesn't make you wait forever for a subpage to load.
Although the definition of this type of website does not cause serious problems, the implementation of such a website in practice can be problematic.
All this is because a website is not the same as a page. Each site has its own target audience, it wants to reach different people and pursues different goals.
However, there are a number of general tips that will be useful in almost every case. You will find a list of them below.
What elements should a good website have?
1. Appropriate hierarchy of elements and sections
It is customary to make the most impression at the top of the page, and this "impression" is divided into two types:
- quality delivery
This is because the user needs to get what they are looking for as quickly as possible.
Quality assurance is a quick understanding: "Yes, this is the site that meets my needs at the moment." Aesthetics, on the other hand, helps keep the visitor on a particular page.
Therefore, do not forget to delve into the essence of the various elements of the site.
2. The right language for the audience
Users should not feel lost when visiting a potentially interesting site.
Unfortunately, this may be due to the presence of a language on the site that the audience does not really understand.
The narration on the site should be chosen so that all phrases and words are clear and unambiguous.
3. No Sliders
Sliders, carousels and other elements that work in the horizontal plane are no longer perceived as well as they used to be.
The current trend is to make pages as "vertical" as possible - so that mouse scrolling is mainly responsible for navigation. Or, on the contrary, the thumb, which "tolerates" horizontal navigation much better, although this is a topic for a slightly wider, additional discussion.
However, sliders mean that some information is not visible at a glance. To get to them, you need to wait a while or make an effort.
Such requirements, unfortunately, do not contribute to ease of navigation.
4. Minimalism and simplicity
In my opinion, a user-friendly site is not overloaded with unnecessary elements.
Remember, however, that the words "minimalism" and "poor" are not synonymous. Just because a website is being simplified doesn't necessarily mean it's getting poor.
Take a look at how Apple builds their product websites. They are minimalistic, there is nothing special about them, but they are still very elegant.
This is the essence - to say as much as possible, using as few forms and means as possible.
5. As few options as possible to choose from
In his text about developing price lists, Bartlemy Kilian mentioned that there is a so-called paradox of choice.
Theoretically, the more options we are offered, the more difficult it is - contrary to appearances - to make a decision.
Many people think differently and tend to believe that if the choice is wide, then we will quickly find what is right for us.
It is important to narrow the circle of choices to reduce the time we spend thinking about a decision, and therefore the likelihood of rejection of an offer.
6. Stick to standards
Over the past few years, certain patterns have crystallized that can be found on almost every site.
- deleting the "Home" link in the menu in favor of a logo link
- enabling more extensive navigation in the footer
- left top corner of the page
- choosing vertical rather than horizontal navigation
- using obvious icons (search - magnifier, phone contact - phone, email - envelope, etc.)
I mean, that users get used to certain solutions. In almost every case, it is not worth becoming a pioneer trying to set new trends. Good intentions can be quickly nullified by users who prefer what has been proven over the years.
7. Focusing users' attention on only one element
Currently, there is a situation where we (users) have to be led around the site like a hand.
We get lost when we have too many options to choose from.
That's why it's important to style all page elements in such a way that at any given time the user is prompted to perform a specific action.
Should it scroll down? Let him find such a sentence, preferably in combination with a nice looking mouse animation. Should he press a certain button? Let it stand out with its background color against the background of other elements. Should he make a phone call? Make sure the phone number is prominent enough.
Certain actions just have to be suggested to us.
8. High speed loading of individual pages and elements
A user-friendly site is a fast site.
It doesn't make you wait forever to move from one subpage to another and loads all elements instantly.
All you need to do is choose the right hosting (along with the right plan) and spend a few hours optimizing your site so that the results are visible immediately.
9. Focus on scrolling, not clicks.
In the third point, I mentioned that vertical navigation is currently being emphasized.
This is closely related to scrolling the view with the mouse. This activity comes very naturally to us as our finger is almost always on the scroll wheel.
Moreover, our patience is constantly decreasing.We browse the Internet quickly, only occasionally catching a glimpse of individual pages or elements.
Therefore, websites should be optimized so that vertical navigation is natural.
10. No stock photos
I know from experience that it's easy to organize a decent photo shoot (with a professional who knows how to do it and in well-suited locations). In theory, such an undertaking sometimes seems complicated, but it is enough to find a few recommendations, make a few phone calls and ... that's it.
The results of such a corporate photo shoot are much better than when using ready-made stock photos.
The disadvantage of stock photos is that they are just idealized and therefore artificial. People pose unnaturally, smile too perfectly, and the backgrounds are clearly chosen by force.
Truthfulness, naturalness and even a kind of "fabricated dilettantism" (but in a good way) are at a price. They convey the effect they are supposed to convey, but do not impose this false, idealized narrative.
Is a user-friendly website really that important?
It goes without saying.
The main task of any site is not only to generate traffic, but also to make sure that those who visit it stay there as long as possible.
This is only possible if the site meets the needs of the visitor.
I hope that the above tips will be useful for you.