Making your website user friendly is important for retaining visitors, increasing traffic and fulfilling the purpose of your web presence. Following a few guidelines can improve the usability of your site.
What Does Your Site Need To Do?
A website is a means to an end: it sells a product, informs a demographic or distributes information. Asking yourself why your website exists and what you intend to do with it will you help increase usability. A video sharing and portfolio site achieve very different goals and will take two very different methods to making their sites usable. A portfolio site may opt for a minimalist layout or one that reflects the creator’s personality (assuming it’s his or hers portfolio) while a video sharing site will opt to display content that focuses on scannable video titles.
It’s Not Pretty But Needs To Be Functional
A mistake designers make and even I like to consider a guilty pleasure is creating a site that looks good but doesn’t work well. Design isn’t making something pretty but making something that works. Applying that to your site design is one of the best things you can do to improving how your visitors use your site. Keep in mind that since you’re the one designing it, you know how everything functions.
Question each element and ask “Why is this here?”, “How does this help my visitors?” Rethinking will push you to focus on usability instead of making something pretty for your portfolio. I find myself questioning the smallest detail such as alignment and font sizes but it’s the small things that not only makes your site usable but separates you from the competition. Questioning your work will force you to justify it and continue improving.
Ask Other People To Use It
Simply asking other people to use your site and getting their feedback is one of the most overlooked methods when designing with usability. As I mentioned, since you designed the site, you know how it works. Make sure others know how your site works they way you intended it to.