Creating User-Friendly Web Sites

User friendly website mind map

Your website should delight your customers rather than infuriate them. They should be able to find the information they are looking for with ease. Make the effort to ensure that your site is user-friendly.

Navigation

Give your customers good, clear navigation that is easy to use. Don’t confuse your customer. Minimise the number of navigation levels and keep your drop-down box visible. The names you choose for your navigation should be clear and give your visitors information about where the link leads to. Do not use abbreviations in your navigation items unless they are in general use.

A navigation bar that uses abbreviations
The designer of the above navigation bar has used two sets of initials. Many people do know what FAQ means but what does PPC mean? I would think it means Pay Per Click but in this case, it doesn’t. It stands for Port Pirie Community. It would have been more logical to combine that page with the Our Community page and drop the PPC link. There is also a contrast problem with this menu. Make sure that there is enough contrast between your menu items and the menu background, This problem could be fixed by giving the navigation section a contrasting background.

Consider a search facility for large sites and read 22 principles of good navigation for handy hints.

Links should be tested regularly and navigation tested following changes. The 404 error page should help your visitors navigate and can be checked for accuracy by typing a false extension onto your domain name. Visitors should never be blamed for making mistakes.

Readable

Your website needs to be easy to read. The text should not be too small or too large. Writing in capitals can be difficult to read. Some people think that if you write in capitals you are shouting at your visitors. Consider the colour of the text compared to the colour of the background. The greater the contrast between the background colour and the text the easier your page will be to read. Some colour combinations are difficult to read for some people. Some colour combinations are impossible to read for people who are colour blind.

Blue writing on a red background, difficult to read

Ensure that the information that customers are most likely to be looking for is easy to find. This includes:

Well Set out

Important information should be at the top of the page visible to viewers without having to scroll down. Don’t be tempted to clutter your home page with too much information. Using a “read more” link can act as an enticer to lead visitors to other pages.

Forms

If you have forms on your site they should be easy to use. If you are collecting personal information you need to tell the user how you are going to use that information. Only collect as much information as you need. Try to avoid making your forms too long. Make it clear to the user what fields on the form need to be entered and check if this information is present before the user submits the form.

Speed

Your website should be quick to open. Sites that are slow, loose visitors even before they get to the landing page. Check the size of your images, as large images can slow down the performance of the site. Optimise your images and as a rule, ensure that they are under 100kb in size. Test your website speed.

Testing

When your site is ready for publishing, ask your friends and clients to look at it and give their opinion. Remember everyone uses the internet in different ways so it is a good idea to offer several ways to accomplish the same task. Customers will return to a user-friendly site but if your site frustrates them they will leave and not come back. Read Check your website performance for more about testing your site.
Here is a story about User Testing

Last modified 6 August 2018.