How to increase your website’s usability

Written on 28 March, 2016 by James Baylis
Categories: Web Design & Content | Tags: web design

When it comes to marketing your business, it’s not all about traffic to your website. While traffic is a big contributor to how your business is performing online, your website’s design and usability are also crucial to both your brand perception and overall business aims.

If your website is user-friendly, it will give people a better experience, encourage return visitors and higher engagement with your content, and ultimately help people navigate the customer funnel and increase conversions. Here are some tips to help increase the usability of your business website.

Navigation is key

How many times have you been on a website, only to leave because you can’t find the information you need? Recent statistics show over 50 per cent of website sales have been hindered because users can’t find the correct information.

Make it easy to get around your website, ensure the most important information is within your website fold (the part that appears before any scrolling occurs) and make sure your website’s search bar appears on all pages. And when it comes to naming the different sections on your website, keep it simple. ‘Shop’, ‘contact us’, ‘about us’ and ‘FAQ’ are terms that are easy to understand and aid in usability.

Take advantage of the way people scan for information

Research shows that when users scan information on a webpage, it’s predominantly in the pattern of an ‘F’ shape. That means content at the top of your page will be consumed more than the bottom, and content on the left will be read more than the right.

With this in mind, ensure your navigation bar is located on the left-hand side of your webpage, make your main heading run horizontally across the page, then have a call-to-action button underneath the heading and aligned to the left.

Stop talking so much

On average, only 28 per cent of text on a webpage is read, and webmasters that halve the number of words see a 58 per cent increase in usability. In other words, the more concise and succinct your messages are, the better.

Focus on using strong headings, punchy images and small paragraphs that communicate your key messages. If in doubt, keep headings to one or two lines and paragraphs to a maximum of four lines.

Other usability tips to keep in mind

  • Make sure your content is easy to read against backgrounds and images – this means no yellow text on a white background. The last thing you want is users struggling to see what your business has to say.
  • Keep your loading times short. Compress images to smaller sizes if the quality isn’t compromised, and don’t set videos to auto-play. Not only is this beneficial for user experience, but short loading times also boost SEO.
  • Use different colours for visited and unvisited links, and make your links obvious. Underline your links or make the font colour blue so users know they can click on the link.
  • Don’t clutter your website with different fonts and sizes. One font size and style for a heading, one for a subheading, one for a paragraph and one in your logo is enough – any more and you risk confusing potential customers.

Want to improve your website’s usability? Contact WebCentral to find out how you can optimise your website design to improve visitor engagement and increase conversions.