Cracking the Code of User-Friendly Websites

Oskar Bugarić

Oskar Bugarić

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Introduction

Three clicks. Users should be able to find what they are looking for on your website within three clicks. At least, that is what Steve Krug says in his book “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.”

While this rule is not set in stone, it should give you a good idea of what this post is going to be about. 

In this fast-paced digital age with decreasing attention spans, your website has to catch the viewer’s attention in seconds. If the user becomes frustrated or loses interest, they will navigate to another page. After all, there are over a billion websites on the internet as of April 2023. 

The competition is fierce, and in this article, you will find out how to optimize your website for web usability. As a website owner or developer, the odds are against you. Following these strategies will maximize the chances for your webpage to thrive.

Clarity Above Everything

Good websites are self-explanatory and need minimal “cognitive effort” from users. This means that when a user lands on your website, they should be able to see its purpose almost immediately. There are several ways to achieve this:

  • Creating well-structured navigation menus
  • Crafting clear headlines
  • Using taglines that align with the site’s purpose
  • Designing a logo that reflects your site’s core message

Following Conventions

Don’t reinvent the wheel. This does not mean you can’t be creative with your ideas. After all, creativity is what makes websites unique and recognizable.

However, some elements on a website should remain in their designated places.

Users have grown accustomed to these familiar design patterns. Altering them can only lead to confusion. Be creative when necessary, but stick to conventions when needed, such as:

  • The site logo should almost always be in the top left corner of the site.
  • Primary navigation should be at the top of the site.
  • The search icon should resemble a magnifying glass.

Mobile Comes First

More than 50% of internet usage now comes from mobile users. Gone are the days of internet cafes and library visits for writing assignments. This means designing a responsive website that caters to all screen sizes is a priority.

There’s a high chance that over half of your audience will browse your website on their mobile phones. Therefore, you should consider adopting a “mobile-first” approach when designing your website.

Consistency Is Key

Maintaining a consistent look on your website is of utmost importance. A consistent approach ensures users have a familiar experience while browsing your website. This includes using the same styles, fonts, and colors across your entire website.

Always keep the primary navigation and footer in the same place throughout your website. This builds trust and authenticity for your website.

Knowing Your Audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial for determining the look and feel of your website. Is your website an e-commerce platform or a blog? Is it a site for selling computer parts or a news portal?

Ask yourself these questions when designing a website, as it will make it easier to choose specific typography and colors for the design. For example, a computer store might opt for a more modern font and color palette, while a news portal might stick to a more conservative approach.

Conduct user research before the design process. Making design decisions based on actual data is always better than guessing.

Conclusion

Designing a user-friendly website can be a daunting task, but with these tips, you will get there in no time. 

We explored the importance of clarity, adherence to conventions, mobile-first design, consistency, and understanding your audience.

There isn’t a magical ‘one-size-fits-all’ rule for all websites. Embracing these principles will help you design better websites.

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