Tips for improving website usability
If your website’s usability is suffering and you have the insights as to why, you can address the specific development issues and measure the improvements over a specific time period. If you are not privy to insights or you just want to improve this generally, there are some key things you can do:
1. Reduce page load speed
If your page load speed exceeds two seconds, you are getting into the danger zone where users will become frustrated at the wait time and click the back button or exit your site altogether and visit the next one in the search engine results pages. Reduce your page load speed by optimising your images, compressing content and minifying your code.
2. Improve your quality of content
If you have large chunks of text, this is likely to overwhelm the user. Whilst the quantity of content does play some importance in your site’s optimisation, the quality of content is far superior. Make key information stand out by highlighting important USPs or directives. Break the content up with headers and sub-headers and make your content dynamic with the use of video.
3. Make call-to-action buttons more obvious
It sounds obvious but your call-to-action buttons are you drivers for users to perform an action. If they are hard to spot or function awkwardly you will lose the user’s interest. Surprisingly, the location and colour of buttons can play a huge difference in the engagement level so try out a few designs with some A/B split-testing and go with the most successful.
4. Ensure your site is responsive
All sites in this day and age should be responsive. This means that the design responds to whatever device or screen size the website is being viewed on. With over half of all web searches now conducted via mobile phone, at the very least your site should be mobile-friendly. If you have ever tried to view a desktop version of a website via a smartphone, you will understand how frustrating the user experience is. This isn’t something you want to replicate for your own users
5. Simplify navigation
Choose a navigation that people are familiar with. The vast majority of websites list the most important topics from left to right, with things like Services, About Us and Products appearing first. Contact us buttons generally tend to sit on the right of the page. Whilst there is no hard and fast rule on this, if you break the mould on navigation design and your usability is suffering, it’s a no brainer that a familiar design will work better.
6. Reduce click depth
Click depth is the amount of clicks it takes for a user to locate a page. Often on ecommerce sites, product variants can be buried on sub-pages deep in the sitemap and can be frustrating to find. Where possible, shorten click-depth by improving your internal link structure. Linking up pages improves navigation.
7. Remove unnecessary ads
Ad space is a big revenue generator for many businesses and a great way to monetise your website However, too many ads can kill the user experience and make usability really tiresome. Use your judgment to get the balance just right between ads and UX. You want to maximise revenue from both channels without compromising one another.
8. Address your page errors
We’ve all landed on a webpage with an error message before. Often this is a “404” error for a page that is no longer found because it’s been removed, but the URL is still cached. When a user lands on a page that no longer exists, they will often click straight back to the previous page, usually the search engine, which means they are no longer on your site. Fix this by redirecting all your error pages to pages with similar content. It could mean the difference between a sale or a lead.