- Lance Johnson 03.02.2015
Every web designer must know this - no matter how well-designed the site is and how appealing it may be, it is a failure if it is not user-friendly. You may want to create the most unique and interesting website by putting in all your talent, but in that process, you should not forget the end-user. If the end-user is not happy with the website, it is not good. Usability is the most important aspect in creating websites. In this article, we will talk about how to design websites that are user-friendly.
Before we get to the how, it is important to understand what user-experience is and what makes a website user-friendly. The kind of reaction that the user gives to your website, the feeling that your website incites in the user is what user experience (UX) is. A favorable UX will encourage the customers to act just as you want them to - buy something on the site or share contact details, subscribe to magazines or newsletters. An unfavorable UX, which can be frustrating and painful for the users, simply prompts them to get out of the website and to never return to it. This is certainly bad for the business, which is why UX should be in the forefront of website designing.
Given the advanced technologies and the many resources that web designers have access to, creating a user-friendly website is not difficult at all. Remembering a few important things and working in collaboration with the developers can help you create a website that is both visually appealing and highly functional. So here are a few things that you should pay attention to when designing a user-friendly website.
When you think of a great website, the first thing that you may think of is a sophisticated design. On the contrary, some of the best websites in the world have the simplest designs, because they are designed and developed with user experience in the mind. You may be the best web designer or developer in the company, but that does not mean you have to showcase all your skills while developing a single site.
The end-users are not interested in your coding or designing skills. All they want is a website that they can use without much trouble. The design, the navigation and the graphics are best when used minimally to create a website that your users will love.
Flawless coding is one of the most important things to ensure that the users are able to achieve what they want to on the website. This means that the links you create, the response to the click of a button should be as expected. The right link to the right page and the right kind of results on completing a procedure like a purchase, a subscription or registering a complaint or request is something that can be made possible with proper coding. Get the code wrong and your entire website will end up flawed.
Websites are often complicated with excessive use of graphics. You may want to make your web pages interactive with the use of heavy graphics and images. That will only slow down the loading time of the pages, and test the users' patience. Unfortunately, modern users do not have a lot of that. Make them wait more than a few seconds to load the page and you lose them for good. People lead busy lives and are not as tolerant as they used to be before. With advancements in technology and digitalization, they want everything quickly. So when designing a website, keep this in mind and use graphics on a page or two only if absolutely necessary.
Web designers tend to add a lot of unwanted changes to standard web design in the name of creativity. True, web designers should have a creative streak, but not at the cost of usability. As far as possible stick to the standard page layout that follows a logical structure. For instance, always place the links to the other pages on the website on the top, just above the page title. The contact information should be at the end of a page, or the link to contact details should be on top right corner, after links to other pages. People like what they are used to. Give them something completely new and you may just be scaring them away.
The appeal of a website mostly lies in the color combination used while designing. The colors you choose for the background, the buttons and the text should all be in accordance with the theme. But at the same time, they should also be easy on the eye. Using loud and jarring colors is not always a good idea, no matter how exciting your website theme may be. At the same time, using a dull, gray-scale design for a children's site is also not a good idea.
Every website has some amount of text on its pages. Unless you have placed the text for decoration, you should make sure that the font and color of the content on the pages makes it readable. Whether it is just a tag line, your contact information or product information, you want the customers to read it. So why not make it easier for them to do so by choosing the right kind of fonts and font sizes that make reading the text easy.
Another mistake that most web designers make is not leaving any white space on the web page. Filling up a page is not a good idea, as it can make the page seem cluttered and also make it difficult to identify the sections or even read the text. As far as possible, leave ample white space on every page and also maintain a standard gap between different sections or boxes of text on a single page.