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What Makes a Website User-Friendly: 10 Key Characteristics

 > Web Design  > What Makes a Website User-Friendly: 10 Key Characteristics

A successful website is key to growing and attracting new customers, increasing visibility, and securing a good search engine ranking. But you won’t be able to achieve any of these if your site is not user-friendly.

A user-friendly website looks appealing & professional and is easy to navigate. This concept is referred to as usability, meaning the website should be simple to browse, irrespective of the device being used. Usability, however, depends on several factors such as navigation, design, and optimisation.

A] Importance of a user-friendly website

A website is one of the most effective ways to connect with your current and potential customers. However, an outdated website design may lead to missed leads and opportunities, which could affect your business growth. User-friendliness or usability is the most crucial aspect of a website’s success. Many businesses tend to overlook this, which could harm your site and eventually lead to its demise.

Over the years, website usability has gained more prominence as it helps visitors find the information (they need) quickly. This helps enhance their browsing experience leading to improved traffic and ranking.

Having a user-friendly site not only enhances user satisfaction but also lengthens the dwell time – time a user spends on your website. This can help decrease the average bounce rate and increase the conversion rate. Improved usability can also improve the website’s performance, contributing greatly to improved SEO ranking and overall site visibility.

B] Characteristics of a user-friendly website

There is a long list of things you can try to increase the usability of your website. We have listed ten things that can help in creating a user-friendly website, delivering a positive user experience.

1. Web design

Website design and site architecture can help improve website usability. It may be the visual aspect that attracts visitors to your website but it is the ease of finding the required information that makes them want to stay on your site for longer. Consider both these factors when creating a professional website. Also consider:

  • Simplicity: The cleaner and lighter the appearance of your website, the easier it is to browse.
  • Colour scheme: Ensure that the colours you pick for the website’s background and content complement each other. Avoid too bright or too dull colours. Choose colours that improve readability.
  • Unified design: Each website page should look unified with the same design layout. A website template can help you maintain a consistent design and feel.
  • Header and Footer: Keep the header and the footer simple. Do not overload them with excessive navigation. Add your logo to both the header and footer.

2. Mobile-friendly website (responsiveness)

With rapid progress in technology, the margin of mobile phone usage has seen a speedy rise. The number of people who use their mobile phones to access the internet is only increasing, so creating a responsive website has become a necessity. A responsive website adds credibility to your brand and positions your brand as a trustworthy source for your customers. To see how your existing website is displayed on mobile screens, use Google’s mobile-friendly test.

As a professional website design and development company, we can help you create a responsive website.

3. Well-structured navigation

Navigation has a direct impact on the user experience. We recommend that you look at the following:

  • Navigation menu: Have a well-designed navigation menu with short and accurate labels. The menu should not be cluttered and have good legibility. It should have well-defined sections with proper categories and sub-navigation menus.
  • Search tool: An easily accessible search tool is a must if you have numerous website pages. It will simplify the search process, making it convenient for users to quickly find the information they are looking for.
  • Internal linking: Linking your products, services or related content internally will make navigation easier.
  • Accurate product classification: If you are selling multiple products, break them into different sections and categories so that customers can find them with ease.

4. Content formatting for readability

Most internet users skim through the content on the page instead of reading it word-for-word. They only read through the key parts to quickly understand the crux of the content and determine its relevance. For this reason, formatting your content with correct headings and sub-headings, paragraphs, bullets or lists to break up the text is essential. This makes it easy for the readers to scan the content.

5. Faster website speed

Slow website speed or slow loading time is one of the main reasons visitors leave a website. Ensure that your website loads within 3-6 seconds.

  • If your website is slow, hire an SEO agency to audit your website. They will help you identify problems and provide effective solutions.
  • Besides clean coding, ensure to keep your website as lightweight as possible. One way to do this is by using optimised images.
  • Remember to use third-party plugins and widgets (if any) in moderation, as they can slow down your site.
  • Run website speed tests regularly to keep tabs on speed and load time.
  • Your hosting might also be an issue. So check and switch to a new host to improve website speed.

6. Accessible to all types of users

A user-friendly website is accessible to all users including the blind, disabled and elderly. Such users typically make use of screen-readers to have access to the internet. The 508 website accessibility guidelines pinpoint simple and friendly website design techniques that can be applied to ensure on-screen readers have easy access to your website. This opens the gates to a larger audience.

7. Simplify forms

If your website has long and complicated forms, it might be the reason why visitors abandon your site. Forms are important to generate leads, so they need to be user-friendly. You can simplify the forms on your site by:

  • Displaying notifications for the message sent
  • Applying simple methods for validation

8. Have a clear call-to-action (CTA)

User-friendly websites or pages must feature a clear call-to-action, as visitors are more likely to act upon the next step if they can identify them easily.

For instance, a button or anchor text that links to the contact us form to book a session/appointment can help convert potential leads.

CTAs that are implied directly are more effective, so ensure the CTA is descriptive and placed above-the-fold. Avoid multiple call-to-actions on a page to prevent distracting your users.

9. Limit ads

Advertisements can drastically affect the user-friendly aspect of your website. While ads are important for a business to grow, they can irritate visitors. Too many ads will interfere with the user experience and lead to a high bounce rate. Ensure to keep ads to a minimum.

10. Check for broken links, images, and icons

Images, links and icons are vital as they help improve the overall look and feel of a site. However, broken images, links and icons can hamper website usability. For this reason you need to:

  • Browse through every page to ensure all images are in the right place and rendering correctly.
  • Check if external and internal links are still working.
  • Verify if appropriate icons are used with the right interlinking.

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C] Benefits of a user-friendly website

  • Enhance user experience: A user-friendly website includes a responsive web design that renders flawlessly across all browsers and devices. It is well-structured, loads faster and is well-optimised. This helps deliver a positive user experience and reduces bounce rates.
  • Increase dwell time: A user-friendly website design helps increase dwell time. Such sites include responsive designs, rich images, simple navigation, clear CTA and optimised content that keeps visitors engaged (and on the website) for longer.
  • Improve organic traffic and ranking: User-friendly sites provide in-depth, informative content and use relevant keywords. They make use of SEO best practices, which help improve organic traffic and ranking.
  • Increase in ROI: These types of websites actively help in increasing a business’ return on investment (ROI) by improving the experience for existing users and attracting new users.

Want to create a user-friendly WordPress website? Check out the WordPress services we offer and get in touch today!

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