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Posted 03/25/2020

Important Tips to Keep Your Website User Friendly

Important Tips to Keep Your Website User Friendly

In the world of 21st century E-Commerce, your website must be a destination for your customers that is easy to find, easy to use, and secure. With thousands upon thousands of choices at their fingertips, your customers will not hesitate to search elsewhere if their user experience with your site is not positive. While this seems obvious, and most businesses are aware of it, it is surprising how many companies “get in their own way” with poor website design and construction. Here are some keys to optimize your site for a positive customer interaction.

Easy Navigation 

Let’s begin with the basics. A confusing or cluttered navigation bar is a major problem. It’s helpful to think of the navigation bar as a table of contents. Natural language processing helps your site understand and interpret what you want, but simple navigation is always critical. Resist the urge to shove every possible subcategory into your navigation bar. Keep it to five or six broad headings like “products,” “news,” “contact us,” and so on. If that makes you nervous, consider this: you’re redirecting people to another page on your site with whatever navigation button they click, right? So, once they land on that page, you’re welcome to have all the information or links you need there. The goal here is more to simply keep the homepage clean and uncluttered.

Speaking of clutter, it’s important to leave plenty of open space on your homepage as well. While your design instincts may tell you that negative white space is boring, well-planned websites have it there for a reason. It has to do with how our eyes process information. We need empty space to allow us to take in what we see. If we see tons of boxes, shapes, and colors all squeezed closely together or on top of each other, we get overwhelmed and can’t focus on any particular element. Space things out and follow the rules of  a Z-shaped pattern for easy scanning. 

Short Load Time

Let’s shift to a basic truth: the internet has spoiled us into expecting instant gratification on demand. If a potential customer visits your site and it doesn’t load quickly, they’ll be gone in no time. You may be thinking that this is out of your control or takes cast expertise in coding. Really, one simple thing often causes long load times: images that are too big!

We’ve been trained that when it comes to digital imagery, the higher the resolution and the bigger the file size, the better. That is a good rule of thumb in many applications, but in web design, it forces pages to take too long to render and display. It’s best to start with high-quality images and downscale them to around 72dpi (dots-per-inch), rather than broadcast-quality 150 or 300dpi. 

Simple Product Display

Let’s go back to our “clutter is bad” theme for a moment. If you have pictures of products you wish to display, both the image size guideline and the non-cluttered layout principles apply. Place a single product in a picture, either over a white background, or cut-out from its background entirely. Include a simple product description to its right (always lead with the photo on the left) and limit the photos to 10-15 per page so as not to shorten load time.

Secure Ordering Interface

While social media accounts are great for awareness and even advertising, they’re not set up for sales, so your website is the end-point to close deals. While third party services like PayPal, or emerging cryptocurrency platforms like BitCoin are starting to offer security by handling digital accounts for clients, it’s still crucial to have a secure system in place to take credit card information and protect your customers from fraud. Encouraging strong user passwords and using HTTPS: are just a couple of the simple steps you can take to sell securely. 

Your website is both your online identity and one of, if not the, main channels for your revenue. Always be smart about your design, and always keep it simple.

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