23 Simple Tips for Improving Website Usability

23 Simple Tips for Improving Website Usability

 

The Importance of Improving Website Usability

In 2021, any business or product brand must have a website. But for visitors to use it, you need to go beyond building and launching your online presence. Improving website usability is of critical importance for building a user-friendly website.

Suppose you want to meet the user expectations of ever more demanding and sophisticated mobile consumers. In that case, you need to build an accessible, inviting, and helpful website or online store that will stand out from similar websites.

Modern consumers are impatient. You have less than half a minute to show exactly why your website is worth their attention at all.

That’s why your website or e-commerce store must grab visitor’s attention, make them stay longer, becoming more interested in what you have to offer. And to grab and keep visitors’ attention you have to first improve website usability.

 

PixoLabo - Website Usability Checklist

 

A Quick Website Usability Checklist

The first step to improving website usability is to locate any obstacles and identify any shortcomings. Try to look at your website or online store objectively, as though you were a stranger, and answer the following questions:

 

For All Websites:

 

  • Can visitors quickly (2 seconds or less) tell what you do when they land on your site?
  • Can visitors find information and products easily?
  • Is the navigation clear and consistent throughout the site?
  • Does the back button always take them back to the preceding page?
  • Do the pages load quickly?
  • Can visitors easily find out who runs the site?
  • Do you ask visitors to sign up for a newsletter or a special offer so you can acquire their email addresses and continue to communicate with them when they leave the site?
  • Are your site’s most essential elements visible without scrolling up and down or from side to side on laptop screens and typical desktop screens?
  • Does the site look good when viewed with all the popular web browsers?
  • Is the design responsive, so it looks good on smartphones and tablets?
  • Do you have alternate text tags under graphics (to allow visitors who are blind or who have pictures turned off to find essential links)?
  • Do you have a mechanism to allow people to add pages to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, and other social networking sites?
  • Do you have a prominent Contact Us link?
  • Are your name, address, and phone number on every page of the site?
  • Do you have a way for visitors to contact you by email?

 

For E-Commerce Sites

 

  • Can visitors quickly find products and product descriptions?
  • Can they find price information?
  • Are there links to related products (accessories to wear with a ladies’ suit, for instance)?
  • Can they tell what to click on to place an order?
  • Can they find the checkout button when they are ready to pay for their order?
  • Can they find your phone number from every page in case they have a question?
  • Can they find shipping information and costs easily?
  • Can they find your guarantee and return policy?
  • Can they find information about the company and its management?
  • Can they find any other important information you want them to have?

 

Tips for Improving Website Usability

 

PixoLabo - Improving Website Usability - Accessibility

 

Accessibility

Improving website usability includes accessibility. To meet user expectations, your website or online store must be usable for everyone. No one should be excluded from accessing the offers on your website, regardless of visual impairments, browser, or connection speed.

 

✓ Use Mobile-First Design

Most of your visitors will access your website or online store from a mobile device at least once. Therefore, improving website usability must start with mobile-first web design.

Building mobile-friendly websites are simple with easy-to-implement modular frameworks and templates. You can check the results with tools such as Saucelabs and BrowserStack yourself.

 

✓ Focus on Page Load Speed

Your website should load quickly and without having to wait for images to load. Improving page-load speed creates a positive user experience. In the best-case scenario, your website should load in less than 2 seconds.

 

✓ Use Sufficient Contrast

Once the page is loaded, the visitor will immediately start to orientate themselves. There should be a clear contrast between background and text; otherwise, important information could get lost, discouraging the user from further reading.

Be careful when you use hero images or banners. Text may not be legible due to the underlying image content. To improve website usability make sure that any text clearly stands out from the background image. Images with uniform colors or overlays work best.

 

✓ Keep Font Size Readable

As well as having clear contrast, the text must be easy to read in terms of font and spacing. Ensure your body text uses a font size of no less than 14pts; 16 pts is better. H1 through H6 title tags should be correspondingly larger.

 

✓ Limit Animations

Web animations can be both delightful and distracting. New JavaScript and CSS animations are available as add-ons almost daily. But using animations must be balanced, and you should consider how much memory such animations require.

For users with weaker computers and smartphones, memory-intensive animations lead to slowdowns and malfunctioning of the website. Bear in mind that the animations should be implemented discreetly, in a way that encourages learning and is technically unobtrusive.

On tablets, in particular, scrolling is quick. The user will see empty content if the animation of “in-flying” elements does not happen fast enough.

Avoid unnecessary parallax scrolling and fade-in animations via JavaScript, and reduce the number of  JavaScript libraries to 2-3.

 

✓ Be Organized

An organized website layout is an essential factor for improving website usability. You should align the page with a grid, and all content should follow this grid. A well-planned design gives the impression of a competent and organized website, increasing visitors’ confidence in the website.

 

PixoLabo - Improving Website Usability - Identity

 

Identity

Improving website usability means you need to consider your online presence as part of your brand image or as a way of presenting your brand. The significant side effect of this is that brand management guidelines also ensure improved usability and user guidance.

 

When users call up a page, their eyes wander to the top left for a few milliseconds to determine who the provider is and whether they have landed on the right page.

Make sure your logo isn’t too small, as small symbols won’t be perceived as easily. If your logo isn’t visible enough, users will have less trust in your website.

 

✓ Use an Effective Tagline

A tagline summarizes the site’s content in a condensed form, helping the user classify the content. The better the user understands the context, the sooner they will purchase items.

 

✓ Make Your Home Page Easy to Understand

Website users often follow the same usage pattern. Visitors look at any page in an “F” pattern; they scroll down for 2 to 3 seconds, then back up again, scan from left to right, and back to the top.

Along the way, they learn and remember what text, images, and links look like, how the navigation works, and where to find content. Users should be able to record this information in five seconds.

 

✓ Make Company Information Easy to Find

Small and lesser-known companies are often judged based on their contact or “About Us” page. Ideally, this page should be easy to find as a link in the main navigation on the right-hand side or at the end of the mobile menu.

 

✓ Make Contact Information Easy to Find

Visiting a website does not always have a commercial purpose. Current or potential customers may need or want to contact a company. Can phone numbers, directions, email addresses, or other contact information be accessed quickly on the page?

Especially with responsive websites, it’s common, particularly in smartphone mode, to scroll for a long time to access the footer’s information or links.

Your website should display telephone numbers so that users can make calls directly from smartphones. It is therefore advisable to place a call button next to the mobile menu.

 

PixoLabo - Improving Website Usability - Navigation

 

Navigation

Improving website navigation is often an easy way to improve website usability. The faster users understand how to navigate a page, the more time they can spend on the content. Only users who understand the content will end up purchasing your products or services.

Meaningful elements that are easy to click on will support the user’s journey through the website and make conversions and purchases more likely.

 

✓ Keep Navigation Simple

A key aspect of improving website usability is to make your website or online store easy to navigate. Make sure your navigation menu is easy to find and use.

Sufficient white space around the main navigation can make individual elements easier to recognize. The hamburger menu is commonly used both on desktop and mobile devices.

 

✓ Write Relevant Navigation Link Titles

A website has two tasks: to engage and convert your target audience. Visitors who know what they want will use the main navigation or search to navigate their way through the website.

It is therefore crucial that the menu items clearly describe the link destination. Avoid cute menu links. Most visitors will not click on a link they don’t trust or understand.

 

✓ Limit Number of Menu Items

Suppose you want users to find out quickly what your website offers. In that case, you should avoid using more than seven menu entries in the navigation. The ideal number is between 5 and 7. You can add more in expanded drop-down menus.

 

✓ Link Your Logo to Your Home Page

Users expect to be able to access the home page by clicking on the logo of a website. This behavior is a standard user expectation.

 

✓ Create Consistent and Recognizable Links

These days many websites use text, buttons, and images as links. That is not very clear for visitors. You can improve website usability by always using the same variant for the same function so that the user doesn’t get confused.

 

PixoLabo - Improving Website Usability - Content

 

Content

In many cases, content is more important than design and layout. Whoever addresses the customers’ problems will get the most attention and be heard. For users to be able to perceive the arguments, they should be clearly recognizable and easily accessible.

 

✓ Use Descriptive Titles

Headlines guide the visitors. The more appealing and emotional a headline is, the higher the chance of the user reading and remaining on the page. This fact applies to both the B2C and B2B segments. Your page titles should indicate the purpose of the page.

 

✓ Use Colors Consistently

People unconsciously get used to a particular environment. Colors and forms play an essential role in this process. The more harmonious the colors coordinate with each other, the more advantageous.

 

✓ Use Consistent Typography

A website should convey organization. In addition to grid alignment, a consistent organization can achieve this by using well-balanced fonts.

To improve website usability, you should use a maximum of 2 fonts on titles, text, and images. Use variations such as font weights or styling instead of additional fonts.

 

To find the best font pairings for Google fonts, you can use the handy Font pair tool.

 

✓ Use Popups Sparingly

If you want to improve website usability, you should use popups sparingly, if at all. Especially popups or fade-ins covering the entire screen annoy most visitors, especially on mobile. And Google started penalizing websites for using interstitial popups in 2017.

It would be best if you only used popups in those parts of the website where they benefit the user, and the path to conversion is not disturbed. For example, it is essential to avoid popups in checkout processes.

 

✓ Write Short Paragraphs

People don’t read everything on a website. They skim over the content and stop to read something properly when it seems interesting. It is, therefore, essential to break your content down into individual paragraphs.

 

✓ Use Simple Clear Paragraphs Headings

If you want to improve website usability you need to make it easy for users to understand your content. To enable the user to enter and evaluate a paragraph’s content before starting to read, it makes sense to give each section or even paragraph a heading.

The headline should briefly summarize the content and arouse curiosity. As a website owner, you can use the headline to address the users and convey arguments in favor of purchasing more effectively.

 

✓ Create Internal Links

The last aspect of improving website usability is one of the simplest.

When users are on a web page, you should direct them to another page. Therefore, you should place internal links throughout your content and at the bottom of all pages. Internal links will encourage visitors to explore other content and spend more time on your site.

And that is the main reason why you are improving website usability.

 

PixoLabo - Focusing on Improving Website Usability

 

Focusing on Improving Website Usability

Your website or online store’s primary purpose is to attract, engage, and convert your target audience. Search engine optimization will help you with the first part. But once visitors arrive on your website, it is up to you to do the rest.

Improving website usability is essential if you want to succeed online. Consumers are becoming ever more impatient, demanding, and sophisticated. If your website or online store does not meet their user expectations, they will go elsewhere.

The time when you could build a website, add some content and a few images, and wait for your phone to ring are long gone. Website owners must work hard to earn the trust and business of online consumers.

Those that do will reap long-term benefits by creating loyal customers. But business owners that neglect or skim over-improving website usability will quickly lose out to their better-prepared competitors.

The rest is up to you. We are here to help!

 

PixoLabo - Are You Looking for a Professional Web Designer?

 

We Can Improve Your Website Usability

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas for improving website usability. Suppose you need additional help or have any questions. Why not request a consultation with the professional web design experts at PixoLabo. Let us help you improve your website usability.

Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of business website consulting and design services, including mobile-first web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand strategy and design, and website hosting and optimization.

Our team can help you analyze your existing site, identify any potential issuers or shortcomings, and help you improve your website usability. Why not start by requesting a free consultation and no-obligation estimate!

 

Did You Improve Website Usability?

Are you concerned about improving website usability? If so, what are the primary usability issues on your website or online store? How are you planning to resolve them? How did you improve your website usability?

Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit and grab our feed, so you don’t miss our next post! And help other business owners meet the user expectations of demanding mobile consumers by sharing these tips for improving website usability with them!

 

Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

 

By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO
@gregorsaita

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Gregor Saita
Gregor Saita

Gregor is Co-Founder and CXO of PixoLabo, a multilingual virtual creative lab working with clients in North America, Europe, and SE Asia. With over 25 years of experience in web, UX, and information design, Gregor consults for startups in Asia and the US. He is also an adjunct professor of design and user experience, a creative technologist and consultant at EnLinx Partners, LLC, and a foreign language editor at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. Gregor lives with his wife, an award-winning Japanese designer and photographer, in Sendai, Japan. When he is not working, he enjoys writing, exploring, gardening, and sampling new street food.

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