Chances are, we’ve all encountered websites that are difficult to navigate, unresponsive – or otherwise unpleasant to journey through. From experience, we should know that web pages with user control issues are incredibly off-putting to browsers, customers, and anyone else who might stumble across your site. It’s simple really – strong web usability is essential.
Several factors affect a website’s ease of use. However – to get you started on your web usability journey, we’ve highlighted the four key areas you should aim to improve on first…
For good website usability, navigation should be simple, intuitive and consistent throughout.
User research indicates that 79% of users skim through content on web pages – as opposed to reading through them in their entirety. As such, it’s vital your website uses the necessary headings, sub-headings, paragraphs and bullet lists, to make its content easier to scan.
It’s also important to guide site visitors through web content by more visual means – such as call to action buttons, internal links and graphics. This doesn’t mean adding links here, there and everywhere. Rather, you should include them only as a nudge in the right direction. Primary navigation should stay at the top, with a list of your most-visited links for reference.
When creating user-friendly web design, there are several usability principles a professional will use to their advantage. Eye-tracking usability tests have shown that people follow certain patterns when looking at digital content. Two of the most common are the ‘F-shape’ and ‘Z-shape’ patterns – in which users follow the outline of these letters when scanning pages.
In particular, the ‘F-shape’ pattern is most common, as this layout mimics the natural way of reading in the Western cultures – left to right and top to bottom. By weighting key calls to action in the areas of your website where eyes are more likely to hover, you’ll be able to directly offer enticing selling-points, clear navigation options and essential information.
When it comes to websites, good usability is all about getting from point A to B in a way that is as simple, stress-free – and enjoyable, as possible. Users should find comfort in your site’s clear navigation, and feel free to explore to their heart’s content without getting confused, lost or disoriented. As such, familiarity is your friend – and it’s better to stick to what people already know. After all, there’s nothing wrong with looking at some rival sites for inspiration.
Bringing the perspective of a user experience (UX) designer to your site will allow you to see it from the position of site visitors. Unlike web designers, UX designers focus on how a site is experienced – and what features make it easy or difficult to use. User journey mapping is just one tool from the UX tool belt used to better understand how a site can meet its user needs.
User journey maps are exactly what they sound like – visual diagrams of the path a visitor takes through your website from the home page. In order to create one, you’ll first need to research your audience, figure out what they want, and establish whether their experience of your site has been positive or negative. Through use of user research, visual mapping or a usability test, you’ll be able to identify areas of your website’s design that are confusing.
What’s more, user journey mapping can benefit a wide range of businesses. For example, it can help even the simplest of websites improve their usability and refine their design. As a business grows, user journey mapping can ensure your website’s natural flow remains intuitive and easy to navigate, even after adding new features and content to it.
Well-designed websites are about more than just user-interfaces. They also need to be easy for business owners to use. The vast majority of websites need to be frequently updated with new product listings, changes to availability – or any other information that needs conveying. After all, your business is a living, breathing thing – and your website should reflect this…
Web creation is all well and good, but what use is it if you’re left unsure of how to go about making edits to your layout? A well-designed, user-friendly and intuitive website is easy to adjust on the back-end. This means that business owners – or their employees, can make changes to content by themselves, without having to go through a web developer first.
At Seven Hills Creative, we design websites with ease of use in mind. Every single page we create can be updated, amended and adjusted by you. What’s more, if you ever have any concerns about how to achieve your aims, we’re always happy to help guide you through the process so you’ll feel more confident about managing your site in the future.
Text that is small and difficult to read could be off putting elderly users – or those with visual difficulties. It also doesn’t matter how technical or specialist your business, it should be easy for visitors to read and understand – regardless of industry knowledge and reading ability. In fact, the average reading age in the UK is just 9 years old – so simplicity is always better.
These are just some of the web content accessibility guidelines you should consider when trying to determine your website’s ease of use. By conducting usability testing on a varied group of users in your target market, you’ll be able to ensure your site is accessible to all.
At Seven Hills, we craft responsive, easy to use websites that are as effective in their design – as they are in their delivery. We won’t use page builders to create your project, and nothing is templated to shoehorn your business into. Your brand is unique – and so is our solution.
If you’re on the lookout for a bespoke, easy to edit website that’s tailored to your needs, get in touch with our friendly and experienced team today – we’re always happy to help.