What’s worse than a business not having a website? A business having a website that’s not user friendly. You might say having a website is better than not having one at all, but people can’t miss what they’ve never had, and that’s far better than turning people away because of a terrible experience. In fact, it’s thought that around $243 million USD is lost worldwide every year to poor user experience (UX).
You should treat your website like a salesperson because like a member of staff, your website is what potential customers will turn to for advice and help. You wouldn’t hire a salesperson who makes things extra complicated or who takes the longest route of doing things, so your website shouldn’t be those things either.
As a business, you should be doing all you can to make your website more user friendly. That sounds like a mountainous task, but there are a few easy changes you can implement to make your online platform more user friendly, and we’re going to share a few of them.
1. Autoplay Videos
If you have a video on your website that you really want people to see, you might be tempted to have it autoplay when a user is on the website. As enticing as this seems, it’s not a good idea and creates for a bad user experience. A good example of why it’s bad can be found on no less than Netflix, the world’s biggest online subscription streaming platform. Just because it’s the biggest doesn’t mean it’s the best, and Netflix has come under a lot of fire from developers and designers everywhere for its autoplay feature that begins when you hover over a title. This is because if your sound is cranked up, it turns into a frenzy to turn it down and close the video.
If someone wants to view your interactive video content, they will hit the play button voluntarily. If not, they won’t. Either way, autoplay ranks alongside pop up ads as a very annoying website feature.
2. Poor Navigation
In the same way most people don’t like taking the long route home, people also dislike going the long way to where they want to be on a website. Hidden navigation bars can add to the aesthetic of a website – and the look of a website is very important – but it doesn’t overrule the usability. Any web designer worth their salt will be able to incorporate a navigation bar either at the top or the side of your website and make it look sleek. The navigation bar should contain the key categories of your website. You should have a few categories but not too many, so that means you will need to organize the content/products on your website effectively.
People go back and forth on web pages frequently, and for this reason it’s important to have a cohesive breadcrumb trail in addition to your navigation bar. A breadcrumb trail could look like:
Home > Categories > Ground Coffee > Medium Grind
This is important because if a person clicks on a product, they can easily get back to the category they were just on and they can clearly see how they got there, too. From a usability point of view, this is essential.
3. Confusing Design
As mentioned, good design is extremely important because not only does it lend itself to the aesthetic of your website, it also increases the usability of your site. Things to consider when designing your website for a positive user experience include:
- Readable fonts (e.g. Open Sans, Helvetica, Merriweather or Arvo)
- Legible font size of at least 16px (any less is not easy to read and is off-putting to users)
- Direct, clear links (the less clicks it takes a person to get where they need to be, the better – think big buttons like this ‘Zakat Facts’ donation button)
There is much more that goes into making a website user friendly, but these three points are a great place to start when it comes to creating a website that people will want to use and trust.