Everybody and their aunts have websites nowadays, and some people have websites about 10 different things that you never thought would be relevant in a conversation. If you enter the internet and you look long enough, you can be sure that there is a website about just about anything your imagination can come up with aside from the millions sites about cats. And there is a big difference between all the sites – besides theme and topic, of course. And that difference is called user-friendliness.
You would certainly be lying if you said that you can navigate all the same in all websites. Some are surely easier to handle than others, and some are simply too… well, simple. So where is the middle ground? If you start your own website tomorrow, what should you look for to get more views and to keep the people entering it? Here is some advice.
Theme and Colour
You should be aware that most people like to slap on their favourite colour in front of the user’s face and give text on hard to look at backgrounds. Don’t do that. When picking colours, never go for simple, unless that simple is a white background with an occasional picture or zone for titles and categories, but that is walking into blog territories. The colour should match the theme. If you are going for a website about car parts, for example, it should be silvery or dark grey – something to match the colour of the car parts. If you are having a website about gardening, green is your colour, along with its many shades. Mix colours that are combinable, and don’t go for too eccentric looks. Vibrant colours are nice, but they will start hurting the eyes eventually, so you better stick to dark or warm colours.
Go to any professionally made website and see that besides the logo – and a random promotion if the website is trade-focused – there is hardly anything sticking out. Your theme should also be something one can notice only if one starts looking for it. Never shove anything in the guest’s face if you want to keep the guest around.
Speaking of the logo, if you have one, put it in one visible place, and definitely not everywhere. There are websites that spam their users with the logo on every page – after every title, on every category, in the background, etc. Pick one place and that is where the logo should go. The most prominent usage of logo is to have one on the upper left or right corner, and one in the background, and this is more than sufficient.
Easy navigation is always something that you want to go for. Have the website be separated into different categories, and make the categories clear. If you plan on giving information about different movies, for instance, have the categories be different genres, like COMEDY, DRAMA, etc. Don’t make the category titles confusing – browsing without finding anything for less than 1 minute will turn the user off immediately.
After all, why stay on your confusing website when there are literally millions of others much more simple ones that contain similar information. Frustration with an unhelpful website builds very easily in users and none will tolerate solving the mystery of your creation so that they can get a simple answer like “was the movie good?” And, if you are making a product-related website, do not forget the ABOUT and CONTACT US page, so that the user is 100% aware of who you are and that you are a real, reachable, contactable person.
Easy to Handle
Your website needs to be easy on the user’s browser. There are so many websites out there that make your PC, laptop, and internet connection to work very hard just to open the title page. Flash players are the key criminal in this case. If you have vivid imagery and animations in mind when creating the website, place them evenly throughout the website, and do not pile them up in one place as the user will tire of waiting incredibly fast and will switch to something that loads faster. Unless you can offer a user the experience of a lifetime after the loading time, you cannot hope to keep users that are unwilling to have patience with your website.
If you want to be quirky and like surprising people, place some Easter eggs around the site. Little subtle clues to a bigger mystery for the dedicated. Something like a point-and-click adventure to keep the curious around. Subtlety is your friend here as such Easter eggs should not get in the user’s way while browsing. Only the observant should be able to find them and only the curious should stay – just a passing user should not be burdened with a mystery he or she never asked for.
The contents of the website is something you have to handle yourself. If you want to have a website about facts, keep it real; if you want to have a website about news, keep it simple; if you want to have a website about cats, keep it funny. But most importantly, in order to have a user-friendly interface, keep the website clean, clear, easy to navigate, and do spend less time on ad space. Do not be the reason your guest finally decides to install AdBlock.