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.
While defining this type of website is not a major problem, implementing such a website in practice can be problematic.
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 can 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, help keep the visitor on a particular page.
So don't forget to delve into the essence of the various elements 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 understand very well.
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 as well perceived as before.
The current trend is to make pages as "vertical" as possible - to allow mouse scrolling mainly responsible for navigation.Or, conversely, the thumb, which "carries" horizontal navigation much better, although this is a topic for a slightly wider, additional discussion.
However, the 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 ease of navigation.
4. Minimalism and simplicity
In my opinion, a convenient site is not overloaded with unnecessary elements.
Remember, however, that the words "minimalism" and "poor" are not synonymous. Just because a website is getting simpler doesn't necessarily mean it's getting poorer.
Take a look at this how Apple creates websites for its products. They are minimalist, nothing special, but still very elegant.
That's what the point is to say as much as possible using as few forms and means as possible.
5. As few choices as possible
In his text about developing price lists, Bartlemy Kilian mentioned that there is called the paradox of choice.
Theoretically, the more options we are offered, the more difficult - 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 fits just us.
Narrowing down the choices is important to reduce the time we spend thinking about a decision and therefore the chance of rejection.
6. Stick to Standards
Over the past few years, certain patterns have crystallized that can be found on almost every site.
- removing the "Home" link in the menu in favor of a link to the logo
- enable richer navigation in footer
- insert logo to the top left corner of the page
- Choosing vertical instead of horizontal navigation
- use obvious icons (search - magnifier, phone contact - phone, email - envelope, etc.)
I mean, 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 thwarted by users who prefer what has been proven over the years.
7. Focusing the attention of users on only one element a 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 the user is prompted to perform a specific action at any given time.
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? Let the phone number be prominent enough.
Certain actions just need to be suggested to us.
8. High speed loading of individual pages and elements
A convenient site is a fast site.
It doesn't make you wait forever to move from one subpage to the next and loads all elements instantly.
All you have to do is choose the right hosting (along with the right plan) and spend a few hours to optimize your site so that the results are visible immediately.
9. Focus on scrolling, not clicks.
In the third paragraph, I mentioned that there is currently betting to vertical navigation.
This is closely related to scrolling the view with the mouse. This activity comes very naturally to us, since 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 must be optimized so that vertical navigation is natural.
10. No stock photos
I know from experience that organizing a decent photoshoot is easy (with a professional who knows how to do it, and in places that are well suited for shooting). 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 using ready-made stock photos.
The disadvantage of stock photos is that they are simply idealized and therefore artificial. People pose unnaturally, smile too perfectly, and the backgrounds are clearly chosen by force. "fabricated amateurism" (but in a good way) is at a price. They convey the effect they are meant to convey, but do not impose this false, idealized narrative.
Is it really that important a user-friendly website?
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 for as long as possible.
This is only possible if the site meets the needs of the visitor.
I hope you find the above tips helpful.