User-Friendly Websites: A Simple Definition
The term user-friendly seems self-explanatory. And by the most simplistic definition, it is. When something is user-friendly, it is easily workable and accessible to others. However, there is much more to the term user-friendly than you may think. Understanding this and applying the following concepts to your website will significantly improve how easily visitors move through your website, thus increasing the amount of visitors who stay on your site, and finallyincreasing your conversions, giving you more of what you want out of your website.
There are five aspects of a user-friendly website: learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and satisfaction. By defining these aspects, we can define what the term user-friendly means in terms of web design.
This is how easy people find your site the first time they encounter it. Can they find what they want easily? Can they understand the structure and the design? Having complex designs can push people away. If someone doesn't know what they should do, or can't find what they were looking for, they are more inclined to leave than to look around like your site is a scavenger hunt.
In addition to learning how your website works, visitors must be able to do what they are supposed to do or what they came to do quickly. Having a website that visitors can move through efficiently makes their experience much better. Long page loading times and too many pages on the path to your website's goal can diminish the efficiency of your website.
If you have many return visitors to your website, memorability is very important. Maybe you are a printing company with a file upload system, maybe you have an important notifications portal on your website. Whatever your situation, you want people to be able to navigate and use your website quickly and easily each and every time. Avoid changing your website's structure too often, don't implement huge updates and changes to the system all at once if you don't need to, and make sure you get feedback whenever you make a change.
We all make mistakes, but everyone's happier if we can eliminate some of them and help them out of others. Having a user-friendly website means taking away as many possible errors as you can, and making sure users know how to recover if they do make an error. For example, if someone types in an address on your website that doesn't exist, make sure you have a 404 error page that tells them the page doesn't exist, possibly have suggestions for them, and make sure your website navigation is visible so they can get out of the error without leaving your website. In your contact form, make sure you have only the necessary fields in order to contact them, plainly state what information you want, and state which fields are mandatory. By doing things like this on your website, you can eliminate the amount of errors that are made and make it easier for the user to recover even if they do mess up.
If your website is pleasant to use, your visitors will be satisfied. This means they are satisfied with your business, which is always a good thing. Make sure you are doing whatever you can to satisfy your users. By making your website focused on your visitors, your visitors will be much happier, giving you more fans.
By understanding the five points of being user-friendly, you can significantly increase your website conversions. Run through your website and make sure that its easy for you to use, and be sure you can point out how the site positively reflects each of the five points. Then have your friends and family run through it and gather any feedback they have. Finally, implement the feedback and what you learned above to your website. By doing this, you'll get more of what you want out of your website.