Understanding how to build a user-friendly site does not have to be a headache.
By keeping in mind some basic formatting rules, you can help ensure that your website keeps viewers happy. Here are 6 tips to improve your site’s design.
What works well:
- Consistent pages.
- If you have a certain heading on every page, for example, don’t make one page that doesn’t have it. It will look strange and make your whole site seem disorganized. Try to keep everything consistent – overall layout, font, color scheme, etc. A unified site is both professional and attractive.
- Text written for the web.
- Don’t break out “War and Peace” and try to elevate the writing style of your site to match it. A web user is looking for quick points and easily understandable information. Bulleted lists and straightforward wording will keep a reader’s interest and give them the information they need.
- Use bold text for organization and emphasis.
- This does not mean that you should make every other word bold, but it does help make an important point stand out. It breaks up the monotony of a large block of text and makes it seem less daunting to readers.
What you should leave out:
- Unclear text.
- Exhaustively read over your text. A spelling mistake on on a web page, especially in a heading or early in the page, will drive your users away and make you seem unreliable.
- Too much color.
- Unless you are writing about the color spectrum, leave your text a plain color. You can change it up a bit to go along with your design but try to limit yourself. Don’t make text lime green or orange when black or blue works fine. Make sure you have enough contrast between your background color and your text color – there’s nothing worse than having to squint or highlight over text to make out what it says. If it’s not easily readable users will just pass over it. A good way to check this is to show it to someone who wears glasses or in general has a hard time reading text on the screen. They will be able to tell you if the text stands out enough.
- Out of date information.
- If you have a specific date of an event listed on your website and the event passes, take it down immediately. If you don’t keep your site updated, people will gradually stop visiting and traffic will plummet. The Internet is a unique medium because it can instantly provide information in a way newspapers and television cannot. Make sure you take advantage of this capacity, because you know other sites do.
You have to think about who will be looking at your site – how they will view your content, what they’re going to focus on, and what they want to see. Use pictures, video, even branch out and use charts if you think that is what users are looking for. While the site is all about you, it still has to fit the needs of your audience to be effective. There is no value in having a website if a user has a hard time interacting with it and grasping a clear message.
Test the site: give it to a friend or a colleague, even someone in your target market so that you can see how they work with the site and to correct any problems before they cost you your brand.