Sep 6, 2012

The basics: 3 ways to make your website easier to use

Websites need to be both attractive and functional if they're to win return visitors, and that means getting the basics right. I was just asked to do a critique of a website, and I was shocked at how they failed in one of the most basic and important elements of web design -- poor navigation and no site map! Designing a website -- be sure to include a well-polished search function, easy-to-find contact details and a logical site structure that makes navigation intuitive for first-time visitors. SiteReviver:

When creating a website, there is a lot to think about. As a website designer, you will have to think about the design and layout of the website but you should also be thinking about where the important information should be going on that page. Website usability is extremely important as a website that is difficult to use will get fewer visitors over time so it is important that you follow these tips:

1) Include a search function – People love to search on a website as it will allow them to find exactly what they are looking for with the click of just one button. You should put the search functionality in a clear and defined place like Google so that people know exactly where it is without getting confused.

2) Include Contact Details – People need to be able to contact the owner or the webmaster of the website if there is a problem and it is important to have these details in a clearly defined page. Most websites will have a contact page which is extremely important. Other things that you can include on your website to aid this area could be an online forum, online live chat or even just a web based contact form.

3) Good Structure – This is one of the most important things for any website in regards to user experience and of course, SEO. You’re website should have a logical structure so that users know exactly where they are in the site and how to get back to where they want to. You can use a breadcrumb menu to aid with this if you like. This is also a key factor when it comes to SEO and you should have a good internal link structure.

Website usability is about good design combined with functionality. Usually with most websites, one of these things will be more dominant than the other which means that the website is less likely to have return visitors. Other things to note include having good and descriptive titles and keywords as well as having a good sitemap.