You have 15 seconds to make an impact when people visit your site, according to Chartbeat data. If your website is not user friendly, you will lose more than 20 sales in the time it takes you to read this post. Is that a gamble you’re willing to take? Probably not.
Wondering if your site is user friendly? First, follow this simple checklist to see if you’re hitting the marks. Next, understand that you are not necessarily the best judge of your own website because you’re too close to the product. The best plan is to consult with a professional who can take an objective look and deliver a plan of action.
Easy to Navigate
Your website should be easy and intuitive to navigate. If potential leads are coming to your site, they should not have to fight to find the information they are looking for. Think of a website like your home. Does it have curb appeal? Can visitors locate the front door easily or do they have to walk around in circles looking for a way in? A gracious host extends a warm welcome. Do not set up a navigation structure that reflects how you and your team work internally. Your site is being accessed by outsiders who may be unfamiliar with your workflow. If you’re having a hard time structuring your navigation, grab a few friends and see how they would like to move around your site
Clean, Responsive Design
You probably wouldn’t invite people over to a messy house, so why would you invite potential clients to your messy website? Your site shows people who you are and what you’re about. Give your site a refresh with a clean, modern design that lets your products or services do the talking. Be sure to invest in a mobile-friendly, responsive design that scales with different devices. Invest in a design that grows with your company or organization.
Mega menus are a great way to confuse and frustrate users. Not only do they throw off the look of your site when they expand across the entire page, but they bury important pages amidst, well, lots of junk. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for when you have 20 options to browse through. Remember, you have about 15 seconds to hook a site visitor. Don’t make them waste those seconds digging through a massive menu. Create a simple top navigation, and spend time architecting logical paths from section to section.
Logical URLs and Breadcrumbs
URLs are more than a string of letters that move you around the internet. They work as signposts for your users and help orient them on your website. Logical URLs can be broken down by section. For example, a logical URL looks like this: www.zivtech.com/about/team. This URL can be broken apart to tell users exactly where they are on the site.
zivtech.com ---> you are on the zivtech.com site
zivtech.com/about ---> you are under the about section of the site
zivtech.com/about/staff ---> you are viewing our current staff
A great way to test the logic of your URL is to see if you can cut it back and still navigate around your site. For example, you can remove the /staff section of the aforementioned URL and land on the about page.
Breadcrumbs are also a great way to help users move around your site. Like URLs, they should show you where you are and how you got there. Breadcrumbs should always be in harmony with URLs and menus, showing visitors where they are in the tree of your content.
You want people to read your site, right? Make sure it’s easy for them to do! Websites with larger text are easier to read. Don’t clog up a page with a massive wall of text. Try spacing content out and breaking up large blocks of text with images and white space. Also, pay close attention to the contrast between your site design and your text. Stick with colors that stand out and don’t get lost in busy backgrounds.
It’s also extremely important to make your site accessible. All of our sites meet WCAG and 508 standards, and yours should too. We have two great blog posts on accessibility with themes and accessibility with Drupal, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
Images must have alternate text
Content should be structured appropriately
Caption or provide transcripts of videos
Site should not rely solely on color to convey meaning
How does your site measure up? If you’re missing some of these user friendly features, it’s probably time to come to terms with your site’s usability. Develop a digital strategy to focus your site and your team on your users and audience. Get started today. Check out our Digital Strategy page for more information on how we can help make your site more user friendly.