How To Lay Out The Welcome Mat With User-Friendly Web Design
It can be very tricky to determine just what qualities in a website will keep its visitors coming back to it again and again. Valuable content is one thing that has a strong effect, of course, but another website feature that is always a big plus is ease of use. If you want to give your content a chance to win new visitors over and make them fans, it’s a good idea to make your site as easy to use as possible. Here are some great points to keep in mind.
Loading time is a significant factor in keeping your visitors happy. Every second that they spend staring at a blank screen or at half-loaded images is a little more time for them to consider surfing away to some other site. To make your site load as quickly as possible, keep the size of inline images to a minimum. Make sure that your HTML is fully validated and free of useless code, too.
Speaking of images, you should think carefully every time you intend to put one into your site. While images don’t hurt, in and of themselves, they cannot turn a casual visitor into a regular one. They also have the disadvantage of contributing little to your standings in the search engines. Make sure that any image you add to your site contributes meaningfully to the value of your content.
There was a brief time in web design history where the screen resolution people used to browse the Internet was fairly regular. This made it easy to design pages with great confidence in the way they would appear on visitors’ screens. Today, with desktops hooked up to standard and widescreen monitors and an ever-growing number of people browsing the web on phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, you cannot be sure what resolution your visitors will use. Make sure that your site is legible in a variety of resolutions.
The visitors who see your site will also be using a number of different browsers. You should have all of the most common ones installed on your computer, so that you can make sure your site functions in all of them. Additionally, go online to check out the services which can simulate mobile web browsers, so that you know what your site will look like on a phone. If you’re counting on large numbers of mobile visitors, it may be a good idea to build an entire mobile version of your site.
Although the way you lay out your site is one of the places where you should express your own creative vision, it’s a very good idea to make the navigation features of your site easy to find and use. Hiding menu links behind stylish but inscrutable buttons might look good, but it will push at least a few visitors to leave your site instead of working out how to get around it. Make room in your layout for clear, unambiguous navigation tools.
If you spend a little time making your site more user-friendly, you’ll net yourself big rewards in the struggle to hang onto visitors and keep them coming back over and over. If they find it easy to understand your site and get to the information they want, they’ll feel comfortable with it and be more inclined to return. Once you’ve mastered ease-of-use, you can concentrate on producing the great content that will really thrill your visitors.