There is no point having exciting content, beautiful pictures and plenty of social networking tools if none of your visitors can access the sections they want. Website designs must, above all else, be intuitive, easy to understand and enjoyable to access for anyone that visits the site. Your primary goal should be to allow visitors to find and access the content they want as quickly as possible and without them feeling like they are going in circles. Our focus today will be just that, how to ensure your websites remain user friendly and accessible for people with varying levels of understanding.
While you might want to flex your creative muscles by including what amounts to a mini puzzle on each page…..just so the user can access the related content, forget about it. Each page should have the same navigational elements, allowing the user to quickly navigate around your site and see which sections are available to browse. Icons and section names should also be as clear as possible. You don’t want your potential customers guessing what a button or icon means, so make sure each link is clearly labelled. Studies on user habits indicate that those who are less confident with using the internet tend to avoid clicking on menus and icons which have no obvious function, so why limit your business for the sake of being overly fancy?
The three main ideas behind a clear website design is making sure visitors to your site know where they have been, where they are now and where they can go next. This sense of positioning is an essential part of any website design if you want all of your visitors to be able to navigate your site. A sense of feeling uncomfortable with a website layout can make many potential customers feel apprehensive about submitting sensitive details such as credit card details and addresses and thus loses business for your company.
Many users will often not be casual browsers, but instead know specifically what they are looking for. It is for these types of customers, that having a fully functional search form becomes a necessity. The search function should be clearly marked, perhaps appearing in the same position of each page of the website. Additionally, if your website has many different sections, providing different information and products, allow users to streamline their search by these different categories, and increase the likelihood that they will actually find what they want.
So there you have it, a few simple tips that will help your website to become more user friendly and accessible for its visitors.