User Experience is focused heavily on trying to understand context, activities and people to better solve their problems. If we know and understand the people who are using our product, we’ll be able to design a better product for them. Below are six tried and true strategies for ensuring your website is user friendly, taken from our Front Row video with UX Consultant, Julie Blitzer.
1. It’s Not All About The Homepage
Keep in mind that many users will come to your site via a secondary page. For example, a user can be sent a direct link to a specific page on your site through email or social media. Some common secondary pages that may be linked to include:
- Product Page
- Event Registration
- Blog Post
- Donation Form
Wherever a user enters your site, it’s an opportunity for you to suck them into your experience and convert them into a regular user. Therefore, all possible landing pages should easily convey what the site is and why they should stay.
2. Obvious Navigation
Simple page titles mean users can quickly find what they’re looking for. When naming your navigation bar, keep in mind what your target audience would use to describe your categories.
Do your research to figure out what terms people are searching when they get to your site and make those pages easily accessible in your navigation.
3. The F-Pattern
One way people research in the UX space is with an eye tracking camera. An eye tracking camera will monitor a user’s eye movements while using a site to see where the user tends to look on the site the most. From that, heat maps are generated which have taught us that people generally tend to look at sites in an “F-Pattern”:
Knowing this, it is key to align your content within the pattern. For example, Aritzia.com lists its sale in red on the top left corner of the site, one of the first parts of a site people generally tend to view first.
4. Readability & Contrast
When you write for the web, it’s important to avoid long paragraphs. Large blocks of text work much better on paper than they do on the web.
Consistency is also something you need to keep in mind in terms of readability. If you are working on a site which has many content contributors, it’s important to train them on proper headings and line breaks, as it helps users quickly identify which content is significant.
When taking into consideration contrast, it’s good to know that black text on a white background is the easiest to read. There is an exception here when a user might be staring at the screen for a long time. This can then cause the eyes to strain, and so using a black background a white text is recommended in that case, just like how most developers tend to use a dark background for their work.
5. Form Layout
If someone is looking to fill out a form on your site, chances are they’re ready to dive right into whatever you have to offer. Making this experience easy for them is vital in converting. Every bit of extra work you require from them, the less likely they are to return.
6. The forgotten Pages
There are pages on every single website that a lot of people forget about. One example is the 404 Page. Some tips to turn the frustration of your user hitting a 404 page into an engaging experience are:
- Make it fun
- Include popular links
- Make contact information visible
Take a deeper dive into user experience design.