Do you have a website that you’d like to make even more user friendly? Do you find that there are issues on your website that could be causing trouble to your users? Developing a user friendly website is one of the most important keys to long-term success of a website.
A website with a poor usability experience will not only lead to user dissatisfaction but will also lead to lower rankings in SERPS and receive less traffic and links from other websites.
It’s good that you’ve found errors on your website already and are willing to take steps to correct it. Making your website user friendly isn’t a tiring process as long as you stick to the basics.
Here are some simple tips to make your site user friendly…
1. Get rid of flash
If you have your website designed with flash, get rid of it at the earliest. Flash does look good. But it affects your user’s experience. Most people when they visit a website aren’t interested in sites that have flash.
With flash, the amount of content you can convey is actually reduced. Plus, search engines have difficulty reading these sites and indexing them as well.
We strongly recommend that you shift from a flash based website to a traditional HTML website or a CMS website. Flash websites lead to increased page load times which in turn affect your user experience and your search engine rankings.
2. Navigation Menu
A good, clean and simple navigation menu that allows your users to access all or most parts of your website without feeling lost is essential to optimum conversions, increased user satisfaction and higher search engine rankings. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they’re looking for. Do not use complex navigation menus.
Create an effective navigation menu depending on the number of pages and the content on your site. If you have fewer than 5 pages, a horizontal navigation menu at the top of the page will do.
But if you have more pages, we recommend using two different navigation menus – a horizontal menu at the top that points to the most important pages and a vertical menu in the sidebar that points to other pages on your site.
3. Broken Links
Links to sites or pages that are no longer functional will make your website look very unprofessional. It not only affects user satisfaction but also affects your website’s quality in the eyes of the search engines.
Have all the links on your website examined. If you’re running your website on a content management system, there are lots of plugins you can use to identify and monitor broken links.
Alternatively, there are free tools online that you can use to check your website as well. Use them and identify all the broken links in your website and make sure that you have these changed or removed.
4. HTML Validation
Most users wouldn’t care about whether your website is W3C compliant or not. But search engines and browsers do. Making your website W3C compliant fully ensures that all your pages load properly in most of the browsers (regardless of the device).
Search engines will also find it easy to index your website faster when it is W3C compliant. So make sure that you make use of a validation tool such as the one on the W3C website (http://validator.w3.org/) and make the necessary modifications.
5. Check the content
The content on your website could also offend your users if you don’t check for grammar and other errors. Make sure that you proofread the content on your website thoroughly. Have a couple of keywords sprinkled here and there (for the search engines). Cite sources whenever you talk about facts or other figures.
Eliminate duplicate content on your website. Duplicate content not only offends the search engines but also the users as well. Imagine if they keep clicking on different links and end up on pages with the same content all the time.
Remove duplicate content or have it rewritten throughout your entire site.
6. Check and convert images
The kind of images you have on your website, their size and their format can also affect usability. PNG is the best format to use for all kinds of images on your website.
The compression is successful in some cases and in some cases it isn’t. If it’s unsuccessful, you may have to stick to the original format of the image.
We strongly recommend converting all your images to PNG from a different format and then uploading them to your website.
Make sure that the size of the images or their resolution doesn’t affect your user’s ability to browse your site. Your images should not define your site or webpage. They should only complement it.
7. Page Load Times
Page Load Time is a critical factor. Many users these days aren’t as patient as they used to be in the past. You have to make an impression with your user within the first 3 – 6 seconds. If your website doesn’t load within the time frame, you will have lost them for good. Make sure that you analyze each and every one of your pages and take steps to make them load faster.