When it comes to websites, we all have the same concerns: how do i make it user friendly, how do I communicate with my customers, how do I make sure they understand my business, how will they buy from me – and we could continue with all these phrases that pop up in our minds every time we think about our websites.
True thing, your website is like a resume of your work and yourself. If not presented properly or not “dressed” up with fancy stuff it is going to be just one website from thousands. It is hard to stand out from the crowd and build an attractive and converting website, but there are a few points that are essential to be considered when makinig it user friendly. You can use the best website builder and pay for the most popular plugins, without knowing the fundamentals it is not going to get you to your goals fast.
In this post I am going to show you 4+1 tips I use when building a website and I encourage you to include these when you do the planning as well, because no element, text and picture should be placed on the website without having a purpose behind it. Be mindful about where you put the text and images, because these are also fundamentals you can focus on to create a highly converting website and make it user friendly.
1. Use articulation to deliver your message
The first trick to make your website user friendly is to work on the articulateion . The purpose of the articulation is to make sure that the topics that belong together are appearing together. This means that you list all your topics then try to group them together based on their meaning, connection and relevance.. The simple as is.
You have to think about your website as the main platform where you communicate with your customers as well as your resumé, work of art – portfolio. They expect to see and find things on certain places – but if you put e.g your contact information and how to find you under the blog post, that is rather a bad idea than a smart one.
Think with the head of your customers – what is that they would want to see and where. What information are they looking for? What is that you could help them with?
If you manage to group your topics together, you can deliver your message to your customers on a higher and more valuable form. What does this mean? It means that if your customers can find what they are looking for easily, then their user journey will drive you more sales.
Help your customers get the the most relevant information, offer them solutions and promise results while navigating through your website / using your tools, products, techniques. For example: The details of your contact information belong to the contact page, while the description of your services and what you offer belong to the service page. You have to get clear on the topics you have and the copy you want to share on your website. Try to find what is common in each one of them and try to link them together. When you link them together, you can build up the user’s journey on your website in a more logical way.
A redesign was definitely a good idea in case of http://www.mrbottles.com/ .
The other important meaning of the articulation is to highlight the most relevant / important information. When writing everything with the same font, no styling, it tends to be too massive and hard to read.
This could lead to people leaving your website immediately. When it is hard to find the important information, you will definitely lose traffic. In order to decrease your bounce rate, make sure you highlight the main sections with bold / italic fonts or bigger letters. You can also play with different fonts that match together.
The overall text and meaning would stay the same, but the grouping and highlighting will help your customers scroll through the text easier and find what is more relevant for them.
Pay attention not to go to the other extreme with highlighting everything to call more attention. That will not help but make things worse. Use the 20:80 rule here as well: highlight that 20% of the text that contains the 80% of the information. Our brains prefer well articulated text, so let’s make sure they get what they need.
An example for bad articulation and highlighting is http://www.mednat.org/
2. Create a user friendly layout
The second trick in making your website user friendly is to focus on the layout. I’ve already mentioned the importance of the user journey on the website, but we also shouldn’t forget about a user friendly layout.
The rule you have to remember is that every section of the website has a connection with the rest on that page. Even if you don’t draw lines between each section like a table, our brains tend to connect those elements together which stay closer, but even those that are further away have a slight connection. Your job is to make sure this connection is easy to follow by your customers.
So how do you make sure you the connection is right? In order to make your website look professional, you have to make sure that every element on your website is in connection with the other parts of the website. Pictures can also help you to prepare an outstanding layout for your website. Make them big, put them in the background, play with them, just make sure you keep a balance. The following example from https://www.paradiseview.gr/ is a nice way to show, how a not well thought out idea can lead to a not so friendly layout.
When creating an exceptional layout what you have to pay attention to is to align the texts and pictures properly. If you are new to this, you can start with deciding where to align the components and stick to it on every page of your website. E.g if you decide to put everything only to the left, that is a good idea – just make sure you use the same approach on each page.
Yes, you could still change your layout on the rest of the pages, but for that you need to keep an eye on the repetition. Were are going to cover that a bit later. If you are still new to this, just select one layout and use that until you feel more confident to change it. (Side note: be careful with aligning everything into the center as it can become too boring. If you really need to have everything in the center, make sure you use more highlights and you make the text more interesting and your CTA is in-avoidable).
Don’t be afraid to look at other websites that have this already figured out. I am not saying you should copy them, I am telling you to get inspired, e.g from Shopify’s page: https://www.shopify.com/
3. Use repeating graphic elements to create consistency
Another way to make sure your website more user friendly is to use graphic elements repeatedly. Graphic elements show relationships, hierarchy, and emphasis visually and they give a familiarity feeling to it.
They include backgrounds, banners, glass, aggregators, separators, shadows, and handles. You can either use the same colors on each page, or select a specific element that appears on your pages. You can also play with fonts in headlines and titles – different from your body text. Be brave and use bigger and bolder fonts for that.
Check out this page for more inspiration: https://www.lamarchaberkeley.com/.
It will not just call more attention, but also keep the consistency of your website. Using similar elements on each page will make sure your customers know that even your sign up page is part of your website (regardless of which Email provider do you use). Using similar elements could mean a part of a graphic design that is repeated throughout the website. For example a little triangle or using designed buttons.
The same rule is applicable if you send regular newsletters. Beside your logo in the email use these graphic elements as well to remind people about your brand. When communicating with the same design in every platform (website, email, social media and packages) your customers will remember your brand much efficiently and would recognize it a lot easier. The better the repetition the easier to remember your brand.
4. Use contrast to highlight
There is nothing more drowning to a website than having a website full of useful information but all displayed with the same color, fonts, background. Besides the previous points we covered the 4th most important factor in making your website user friendly is to consider the contrast.
When it comes to contrast, you have to go big. The more contrast you use, easier to read the information on your website. Contrast helps to emphasize titles, headlines, important information, etc.
Contrast not only means highlighting your text, but also to use other elements like a divider, pictures and play with colors. You can vary with the divider’s height, color and position. You can use the picture as a background or part of the text – so it seems more dynamic and you can use the colors to highlight your text and the most important part, the CTA.
Using these elements helps to lead the sight of your customer. Emphasizing the right information can lead to higher conversion – so use it wisely to your advantage. A really nice example is the following website. Check out how the colors, pictures and fonts vary and call attention: https://www.lushusa.com/
+1 White Space is your friend
The funny thing about giving tips on a specific topic is that people mostly expect huge ideas and grand aha moments. But sometimes the best idea is the easiest and simplest one and could be the least you would think about.
Throughout my consulting sessions I was surprised of the fact how this tiny idea can make a huge difference when it comes to websites. It was obvious why would a hard working entrepreneur try to fit all information about their businesses to the first page that pops up when a customer enters the website – but trust me, you don’t want to do that.
If you want to make sure your website is user friendly from the moment they enter to your site, you should to be friends with white space.
Why is that? Because using space is a must. It is even more important than the previous points. It doesn’t matter if you use the previous 4 tools like a pro and you have the best fonts selected, the best layout, amazing pictures, graphic element repeated and everything used in a perfect contrast. If you have everything super crowded, it won’t matter anymore – because your customers will feel overwhelmed and there is a huge chance that they won’t find what they are looking for. Like on this site: http://www.arngren.net/
When you use enough space your whole website gets a lot clearer, open and user friendly. It can either be minimal design or a fancy dynamic website the purpose is the same – inform, engage and sell. Make sure you give an amazing experience to your customer through your clean website and your conversion rate will go up like a rocket ship and your overall brand awareness will increase.
Be brave with space, like the designers at Apple: https://www.apple.com/
Now it is your turn. Tell me which of the above tools have you used so far and how did it help to make your website user friendly?
Post below your comment and let me know 🙂