Businesses and web designers working for businesses always ask themselves, what makes a website good? What makes people want to explore the website? What about it compels them to stay? But sometimes, the more important questions are negative in context: why do people leave the website the moment they see it? Why do they never come back once they do leave? And the questions go on.
And, not so surprisingly, the answers are just as varied and as numerous. Thankfully, we have boiled down some of what it takes to make a website good enough that people will stay and peruse through it.
First Impressions are Important
First you have to understand that, as in all things, how you present yourself from the word “go” is how website visitors will perceive you throughout the experience. And it is from there that you at least meet or exceed their expectations. If not, they are going to exit out of your website so fast it will make your head spin and they will likely never come back. The moment they see your page they automatically make the following judgments about your company, including:
- Are you trustworthy?
- Do you have what I need?
- Are you a professional?
People say not to judge a book by its cover but that is exactly what people will do with your website and you have to design it around that idea.
Keep it simple
Simplicity is one of the key factors in good website usability. You do not want people browsing your website to feel like they have to open up the GPS app on their phone or use a treasure map. They do not have time for that and it will frustrate them. Navigation has to be clear and easy – they need to know where the information is located and how to get there. Then, the way to get there has to be simple. For example, why make a person go three website pages deep when just two will do.
Customers need to anticipate how to navigate your website without needing to learn how!
Make Navigation Buttons Distinct
Make sure buttons on the website that allow users to traverse the website are distinct from the rest: do not make them the same color, font, and size of the body text. These should always stand out even in websites using a minimum color scheme design. Otherwise they are going to spend a lot of time they do not have trying to find how to move around the website.
People are visual creatures, meaning we process images much faster than we do text. While text is important – for SEO purposes and for sharing information – a simple picture can tell a person:
- What the page or website is about
- Where they can click by adding a clickable link and call-to-action to the image.
This latter point is perfect for addressing the dual concerns of navigation and simplicity. And, pictures also makes the website more attractive when compared to a competitor’s site that relies mostly on giant blocks of text.
As mentioned at the start of this piece, there are many factors that make up good website usability and these are but a few. However, what was discussed is important and should be considered when building your next website.