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Tips to Make Your Website User Friendly

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If you have an established business, you surely have some type of online presence these days, whether it be in the form of a website, or a page on Facebook. Many businesses are going online to connect and engage with their customers, as you may have experienced firsthand, some have completely ignored the importance of a user friendly website. By now, if you have been reading other articles on this site, you should be getting the sense that setting up a website is simple, but the designing, marketing and content building will require your time and dedication. Building a site that is user friendly will improve the overall experience of your users and this will improve the chances that they will return back to the site. In this article, the focus is on tips which you can use to help make your website more user friendly.

Page Loading Time

One of the most important things you need to work on is to ensure that your page loads quickly. Nobody, including yourself, enjoys to wait for a website to load. There are many people on the Internet that are still using dialup connections for accessing the Internet. Ideally, your website should load within a few seconds. You can help the load time on your site by avoiding excessive use of images, Flash, pop-ups, scripts, and other elements that are not absolutely required. Also, with regard to images, try to stay away from image formats that are larger in size. JPG and GIF formats generally work well. Additionally, you can configure your webserver to tell the browser clients to compress and cache images so less data needs to be transferred from the webserver. Here is a great website you can use to test out the performance of your website: webpagetest.org.

Use Friendly URLs

Try to stay away from URLs that show long querystrings. Instead use a rewrite module to shorten the URL and make it more user friendly. Shorter URLs look cleaner and users will tend to make less typos if they type your direct URL in the browser's address bar. Try to include relevant keywords in URl so that user can get the idea of the content on the page just by looking at the URL.

Limit the Number of Advertising Banners

A few advertisements on the website is acceptable, for most visitors. However, when you have advertisements in the header, sidebar, and footer, and between paragraphs, users generally get quite irritated. can be irritating. Readers don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements when looking for information.

Use Good Titles and Headlines

Make sure that each of your pages have good titles and headline information. This will make it easier for your users to find your pages, especially when searching for your content using a search engine. When they arrive on your site, you want to make sure that each page has relevant headlines so that they can quickly identify the important content and subject matter on your pages.

Browser Compatibility

Your Website should be compatible with all the major Internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. A website that loads properly using one browser, doesn't guarantee that it will look exactly the same in another. When designing your site, use tags and styles that are supported by all major browsers.

Proper Colors and Contrast

You don't have to be an interior designer to know which colors go well with each other. Avoid using various bright or various dark colors together on your site. Also, make sure that you use a font type and size that is easy to read by most.

Above the Fold

The term "Above the Fold" is taken from the newspaper industry. This section is the area that the visitor can see without having to scroll down. Avoid scroll bars as much as possible, especially horizontal bars. Vertical bars are more acceptable to users. Place your most important elements in this section.

Proper Navigation

While you may know how to quickly navigate your site, your users most probably will not, until they visit your site on a routine basis. Make sure that your visitors can access the most important pages of your website quickly and easily. Finding information on your site is key. Also, make sure that your users can access any page via no more than 3 links. If your pages are too deep, navigation around your site is too confusing. Make sure that you fix all broken links on your site. You can ask your visitors to notify you when they come across broken links.

Update your Content Regularly

If your content is old and stale, and does not routinely update, there is no reason for your visitors to return to your site. Search engine spiders also like to index pages that contain dynamic content.

Use Proper Grammar and Spelling

It is always a good idea to follow proper grammar and spelling. It is very frustrating for users when it is up to them to figure out what you are actually trying to say. Also, if your users need to have your page translated, the translation may not be done correctly if you are not following proper grammar rules.

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