Whether you’re a novice or an expert in web design, it’s important to remember your website is not for you. Your website should be designed for someone who knows very little, if anything, about the business or brand. To have a useful website, you should assume the following about people who will be using it.
Users Hate the “Back” Button
Do you know anyone who enjoys getting lost? Me neither. If you have external links on your website, make sure they open a new tab. Not only is it counterproductive to direct your customers to leave your website, users don’t like to hit the “back” button or an even worse scenario, they may not even think of it and never return.
The same goes for making the information available on more than one page. For example, a page that goes in depth about a particular product or service should also include internal links to other suggested products or an easy way to get back to a complete list of the products and/or services. Users don’t want to hit the back button or try to figure out where they started. Make it easy to get back to that all-encompassing page.
Users Have Short Attention Spans
Get to the point. Although those four paragraphs about your business are accurate, make sure you highlight the most important parts first. Unfortunately, not everyone is as interested in your business as much as you are. So make sure to grab their attention at the beginning of your pages so you don’t lose the interest of potential customers.
Users Will Give Up Easily
If users get lost or a feature is taking too long, they are likely to close out and move on to another website. They aren’t the type of person that’s going to give you the benefit of the doubt. They don’t know you or your business and have no reason to be patient or figure out how to use your website.
Load times, pictures and simplicity become a very important part of the usability of your website. If done correctly, you can actually guide users to the pages you want them to go. One easy way to do this is to make sure useful internal links are available on every page. Think of it as a call to action on every page of your site. What do you want them to do next?
What do you recommend doing to increase the usability of websites? Let me know in the comments!