Let’s face it: modern life is often hectic and complicated. Thus, anywhere you can find simplicity and transparency is greatly appreciated. A well thought out website is one way to give your customers a break.
Here are some quick tips to help simplify your website:
I understand. Sometimes it can be tough to not fill every last pixel of a screen with your fabulous content. I’ve been there! But, if you’re site is a conglomerate of loud headlines and colorful photos, it’s going to be hard for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Your design doesn’t have to be sparse, but there should be clear division amongst your sections of content. The truly important information needs to be front and center. As they say, everything else is just details.
Annoying the User is Not “Interactivity”
There is a clear line between true interactivity and cheap gimmicks. Think of interactivity as:
- A bulletin board for customer support
- Allowing comments on news articles
- Use of social media tools that allow users to share your content
Then there are gimmicks:
- Large animations that take over the user’s screen (even if it’s a paid ad)
- Sounds that play automatically without an option to mute
- Changing mouse cursors to stars, fireworks, etc.
- Popup windows opening on every page
Gimmicks can virtually ruin the user experience on an otherwise nice website. Avoid them at all costs!
Keep Navigation Simple
Sometimes it can be easy to outsmart yourself (and visitors to your website) when constructing navigation. This is especially true for larger sites that have a lot of content. Keep these tips in mind when thinking about your site’s navigation:
- If you have a lot of content, using simple drop-down menus can help a lot. For example, there might be an item called “About Us” on your navigation bar. When a user places their mouse over that item, a list of all the items within that category will be displayed. It’s a great way to organize your content.
- In some instances, it’s ok to have navigation in more than one spot on your website. For example, an online store with a lot of shopping categories may have a list of their main pages (Home, About Us, My Account, etc.) across the top of their site, and a list of shopping categories down the side (Shirts, Pants, Hats, Gloves, etc.). As long as both sets of navigation are easy to find, it should work just fine. Amazon.com is a great example of this, as you go deeper into their site.
- Navigation can look great without being overly complicated. Remember, if someone can’t figure out how to access various parts of your site, they probably won’t stick around very long. Keep everything as plainly visible as possible. Don’t make the user jump through hoops to get around.
Colors Make a Difference
In order to make your content stand out and keep it accessible to users with disabilities, make sure your website has enough contrast between the text and background. While using a dark grey background with light grey text may look cool, it can be hard to read. Color schemes should be easy on the eyes and provide a good amount of contrast.
Fonts and Font Sizes
It used to be considered chic to use small font sizes to accomplish a more modern look. But the day after that, people realized it was nearly impossible to read. I would recommend using at least 12pt type (and that may be small, depending on the font used).
And speaking of fonts, the web now has the capability to display more than just Arial and Times New Roman. Check out Google Web Fonts as an example.
While having a wide variety of fonts to choose from is a good thing, it can also become a hot mess in the wrong hands. Try to avoid using more than 2 or 3 different fonts on your website and choose ones that will be legible.
Even if you put a lot of work into your content, a disorganized site can send customers running to your competitors.
Simplifying your website is a sure-fire way to improve the user’s experience. If people can find what they’re looking quickly and easily, they are more likely to stay on your website and look around.