Ed Garrett | June 25th 2021 | @14:32
A great website is one of the most powerful tools your business can have but it needs to work effectively – for you and your customers. To get the most out of your site, it’s important to take a user centric approach and make sure it serves your audience first. From focusing on the information they need, to making it easy to find and access, here are five things to look for to make sure your website works for your customers.
Your website needs to add value to the people using it. That means it has to focus on what they need, not just what you want to promote. And that’s a job for the design just as much as the copy. You might want a glossy gallery showcasing your beautiful office, for example. But will that help your potential customers decide if your products or services are right for them?
Think about exactly what they need to see – like the solutions you offer, or case studies showing how you deliver them – and make sure that’s the focus. Remember, your website doesn’t have to have everything you want on it, but it does have to have everything your customers need.
When customers visit your website, they should feel like everything they need is right at their fingertips. Nothing is more likely to put them off than having to click their way through endless, confusing submenus – or worse, menus that haven’t been made with mobile users in mind.
Easy, intuitive navigation was key when we designed the website for sustainable animal food suppliers Green Grub Solutions. We kept the main menu clear with just five key pages and no submenus, and put quick links throughout the home page so that users didn’t have to hunt for what they needed.
Bring up your sitemap and be honest about where it can be refined. Are there multiple service subpages where one would do? Is it clear where your menu headers and quick links go? As a general rule, you don’t want your users to click more than three times to get to the page they need.
Obviously your website needs to help you sell your products and services – it’s there to support your business, after all. But it shouldn’t be about forcing the sale by any means necessary. Instead, your website should help your customers understand what you’re offering and how it helps them, so that they can decide if that’s genuinely right for them.
It goes back to making sure your website is centred on what the customer needs. In this case, that’s the problem they have that needs solving. Let them make the choice based on how your solution fits their needs, rather than trying to drive a sale from the minute they land on the home page.
Two things high up on any website wishlist are to look good and load fast. But getting both is about balance. Filling your home page with animations and hi-res images will look stunning, but can take forever to load. But on the flip side, having the fastest site in the world with little or no thought put into the design or image content can often make it look very dull.
It’s about finding the sweet spot between function and form. Your users shouldn’t have to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load, but they need something visually engaging as well as useable to have the best experience.
You don’t just need your information to be easy to find, you also need it to be easy to read. Clean, clear fonts are a must, with a high visual contrast between the text and the background. Black on white is so much easier to read than orange on yellow, for example.
With recruitment agency Darcy Associates, we used a contrasting colour scheme of blue and pink to create obviously different buttons for finding vacancies and hiring staff. High impact white and black fonts that contrast with the background make the text easy to read.
Accessibility also means making sure your site is friendly for as diverse a range of users as possible. For example, make sure to include accessibility features and ALT text on your images to help people with visual impairments and other disabilities use your site.