How can you help website usability? You have that special ‘look’ to your marketing tools. Branding your brochures and corporate image are important to creating good marketing responses. Whether you are templating or custom-building, know that your audience is essentially savvy when it comes to surfing – they know what they want to see and how they want to move around. Keep in mind the user experience and I’m sure your site will get return visits.
Here are 7+ tips for website usability:
1. Your website design should be formatted like it would be as a brochure. Use white space to help ‘air’ your page between elements. Organized and formatted in a legible grid-like system that allows flow and readability. Use relevant imagery that relates to the textual content. Make it functional.
2. A messy website or a site with content overload will surely be left behind. First impressions are always key to the user. Using design elements like coloured text boxes and headlines or links, help to focus the user to manoeuver through your information. Being consistent with your content increases usability.
3. The internet and new technology has created shorter attention spans in users. You should make your site easy to scan through, instead of creating huge blocks of text, which invariably make users leave without taking in what you’re trying to say. Bullet-form is easy to scan, as are sentence blocks in either a bold font or coloured to attract. Encourage users to follow through with ‘read more’ links to pages with extra detailed content. Charts and images help to break up the visible space so as not to intimidate the user. These visible cues also enhance your credibility.
4. Your offering should be made relevant right away. Don’t insult their intelligence. Users only have a few seconds to read your page. Knowing who you are and what you do in simple terms will prompt further reading. Relevant information also sets the mood of the page. Keeping the content relevant is key to good search engine rankings as well, and is as important as your design. Helpful navigation is another feature to enhance the user experience. Keeping it structured and visible allows easy access to the rest of your site.
5. Readability of your website is so important. Unless you are creating a magazine format, keep your font choices down to a minimum, and use webfonts for cross-platform browsing. Size does matter when it comes to fonts: headlines should be larger than the main content, and menus should always stay consistent, but don’t make your text too small.
6. Keep your colour scheme simple and supportive of your current brand. Colour styles tend to follow the fashion world, but that doesn’t always translate long-term, especially on a website. Harsh colours for backgrounds tend to force quick reading and encourage leaving the page, while calmer colours have more staying power. Avoid going nuts colouring your text as well. Bright magenta headlines aren’t attractive to everyone!
7. One of the ways to lose users is with a slow loading webpage. Avoid heavily animated files. Who wants to wait while a flash file loads? Optimize your images for the internet and size them accordingly. Waiting for a 3 megabyte image to load, when it really should be just a few kilobytes can make a user leave. Take the time to scale back your digital photos instead of uploading high-res versions that are wider than your monitor.
Ideally, you should consider using a competent design team to build your site using your brand as a basis to leverage leads and/or sales. You have good taste, but they know how to use it and maximize the user experience.
Mystique Brand Communications