Websites today are more than just web pages stitched together online, with the purpose of providing information. As evolution goes, websites have evolved into so much more. They are portals, leading customers into the world of the brand, creating different options for interaction and, most importantly, keeping them interested enough not to close the window.
With competition being as stiff as it is, companies need to pay special attention to the final outcome and development of their website. Think of it as a vital investment that could potentially either boost or reduce the reach of the brand. A well-made website that impresses customers is more likely to bring in conversions as well. It is believed that companies with stellar websites can increase sales and visibility by as much as 30%.
But it’s not just about looking great or using a stunning template. It’s not just about brilliant content either. Creating a good, effective website requires it to be as user-friendly as possible, because if the end user isn’t impressed by the user interface, then no number of gimmicks can bring results. Website developers are focused on creating websites that provide valuable information to users, and at the same time creating a great user experience for customers.
Why User-friendliness is Important for Success
Online users today are extremely aware, and also informed of the trends in the digital world. They have already encountered websites that made them go “Wow, that’s a great website!” and they’re expecting no less from other brands. Retaining customers is important, but so is gaining new ones, and a user-friendly website can contribute to this cause.
Let’s understand the pros of having a user-friendly website:
- Improved On-page Activity
The more time a user spends on a website, going through the different sections and pages, the more beneficial it is for a brand. It doesn’t just help with getting information out but also increases the chances of having consistent activity on the website. The higher the odds get, the greater the chance of scoring new customers as well. And even if they don’t convert, improved on-page activity is a positive sign for the brand and can help with making improvements in the future.
- Increase brand image and visibility
Having a great website that appeals to the target audience instantly improves the image and reputation of the brand. Today, even the smallest companies ensure that they invest in a website, and it has also become a primary source of information for customers who want to know more about a company. If users are happy with the interface of a website and its overall design, they’re going to consider the brand as credible and trustworthy, which can go a long way in building a loyal customer base.
- Higher conversion rates
Ultimately, the goal of any brand is to increase sales and conversions from various marketing efforts, if not, it just counts as a bad investment for the company. A user-friendly website is one of those important, driving factors that can directly impact the sales and conversion rates of a brand. As mentioned earlier, when customers trust a brand and consider it to be credible, they’re also more likely to purchase a product/service from it. If they trust that they’re investing in something that they’re going to like for sure, making an actual purpose is much more likely. On the flipside, if they’re introduced to an unimpressive or complicated website that deteriorates their image of a brand. Getting conversions is going to become that much more difficult.
- A brilliant marketing tool
Users don’t hesitate from revisiting a website that caught their attention, or that they found easy to navigate. Hence, brands can use this to their advantage and promote their various marketing campaigns on the website. So, the website becomes not just a standstill investment for the brand, but a continuously profitable platform. Many brands today use their websites to make important announcements, conduct exclusive sales, launch new products/services, and much more. And if a website is user-friendly, there’s surely going to be better-targeted traffic for these promotions.
6 Ways To Create A User-friendly Website
Now that we’ve highlighted the why’s of creating a user-friendly website, let’s also look at the how’s of making it happen:
- User feedback matters
Sometimes the best way to give users a website they’ll love is just to ask them. There are several tools available that a brand can use to conduct either direct or anonymous surveys, preferably with their target audience. The data received from these surveys can really help steer a brand in the right direction when it comes to UX and interface design for a website.
The audience of today is happy to give their inputs and share their opinion, and brands should definitely take advantage of that. Placing the audience at the core of development and design can prove to be quite beneficial while creating a website, and if the user is supposed to like it, then the user’s inputs are of utmost value.
- Speed is important
A slow website is an immediate turn-off for users, and a brand could lose a potential client even before getting the chance to communicate with them. Optimizing the speed of a website would definitely cost more and require investment in updated software, but the long-term benefits make this investment worth it. Today’s “smart” world is all about getting things done is the easiest and fastest way possible.
Studies show that website users expect pages to load within a time-frame of 2 seconds, and anything slower than that would significantly decrease their interest in checking out the rest of the pages. Page Speed Insights by Google is a great tool which helps with assessing the speed of a webpage and also gives tips on where a website can improve in order to increase speed and response time. Better response time is a key factor for user-friendliness.
- Opt for intuitive navigation
If a user feels that the navigation of a website is too complicated or involves too many steps, they’re more than likely to shut the window and not return. To avoid this, brands need to focus on creating a site navigation scheme and design that gets all the information and categories across, but in the simplest way possible.
This process is called “intuitive” because users have certain set expectations while navigating through a website, for example, a drop-down menu with categories, a navigation bar, buttons with clear labels like “go here” or “click to know more”, and so on. When these elements are missing in a website, or are presented in a more unconventional manner, only some of the users will be able to adapt to the change, while others might just dismiss the website for being too complex. Hence, these basic elements that facilitate ease of operation are a must.
- Pay attention to themes and colors
Visual design is a key factor while creating a website. Themes and colors can sometimes create a very lasting impression on the users, and one that could determine whether or not they will be visiting again. Most websites are designed to suit the brand theme and personality, which is actually a good thing. It helps users relate to the brand and any other promotions they see offline as well. However, since users are more closely observing a website and in first-person, themes need more attention.
Certain color combinations are known to induce positive responses from users, like the color blue which makes users feel welcome and calm, or the combination of black and yellow which attracts their attention and keeps them curious.
- Information and communication
While focusing on a great design is important, the content on a website cannot be sidelined in the process. Content needs to be easy to read and understand, but also convey all the important and pertinent information that a user would want to know. A great way to integrate simplicity with information is to use first person communication and address the user directly. For example, “Are you looking for a product that can change your life” or “Would you like to get a demo from us?”
Making it feel like a conversation keeps the user engaged, and also gives them the incentive to continue onto the following webpages. Using infographics is also another smart way to make content visually interesting for users, whilst also providing them with answers to all their questions.
- Choose a smart site layout
People are accessing websites from anywhere and everywhere, and over 80% of them prefer to do so directly from their smartphones. Smartphones make it more convenient and quicker for users to view websites, so a brand needs to create a site layout that is flexible and accessible from multiple devices (Tablets, phones, desktops, etc). A website that is responsive to various mediums is going to be a top choice for users because they know they can open it anytime and anywhere.
The key point here is to ensure that all images, content, animations, and so on can be viewed with the same ease and quality even on a smaller screen. Even functionality needs to be just as usable on different devices.
Having a user-friendly website isn’t an option but more of a necessity for a brand. Given that websites play a vital role in the successful digital presence of a company, the development of a website shouldn’t be taken lightly. Giving users a website that they love using and navigating through is a clear win for any brand, irrespective of the industry or sector. Eventually, a good website also paves the way for a company to establish a strong digital foothold and create a loyal bandwagon of customers that recognize the brand for being credible, approachable, and definitely a favorite!