When creating or redesigning your company website, usability should be a top priority. Essentially, every business is a customer service business and one of the best ways to please customers is with user-friendly web design.
While standard web design best practices can make a website visually pleasing and compelling, like uniformity and cleanliness, websites should be created with other elements in mind, including technological advances, multimedia elements, simplified navigation, device compatibility and social interactivity.
Here’s a look at standard best practices your company website should cover.
Technological advancement allows for innovative design, which will keep your website fresh, lively and user-friendly. HTML5 is a core technology markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. “It is the latest evolution of the standard that defines HTML,” according to MDN.
Why should you care? HTML5 WILL impact your user’s web experience and using web interfaces built in HTML5 enables your business to keep up with the latest technologies and industry best practices.
For instance, HTML5 supports the newest multimedia and dazzles with imbedded graphics, interactive features, etc. Technology is the backbone from which other features on the Internet can prosper.
Thoughtful use of audio, video, animation, and text can improve online communication. Meanwhile, using a contrasting color scheme to make text easier to read and employing a legible font, such as San serif fonts, are good rules of thumb. This ease of use will encourage visitors to spend more time on your website and potentially create more conversions.
Easy navigation is a key aspect for usability. The architecture, menus and other navigation tools on your website should consider how users search and browse. The ultimate goal is to assist an online user in moving around your site with ease, quickly discovering the information they require to take a desired action.
“Navigation is such a critical component of a website that when it’s poorly designed, the entirety of the website suffers,” Smashing Magazine contributor Patrick Marsceill explains. “The process of crafting a navigation system that works well across many form factors, screen sizes and types of users will likely look very different from one project to the next. It’s a balancing act involving stakeholder opinions, business goals, technical constraints, content strategy and user behaviors.”
When hiring a web designer make sure your company website is designed with mobile in mind. Designing mobile-friendly websites is today’s standard, since “the majority of consumers are multiscreening, accessing retail sites on mobile or desktop, so consistent experiences across device need to be deployed,” says Danyl Bosomworth of Smart Insights. Also, studies suggest “60 percent of Internet access is mostly mobile (Marketing Land).”
Quick tips to improve usability across devices include: a) ensuring your site is fast-loading by limiting large videos, photos and other files; b) compressing images using the proper file type and resizing images prior to upload; and c) confirming usability across operating systems and the most used browsers (i.e., Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer).
Social media is in full swing, and people expect to be able to interact socially with their favorite websites. Engage users and increase active involvement by adding opinion polls and comment sections into your company’s website design.
Add social media sharing and follow buttons that link to your company’s official social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc.) so users can share your content and boost brand awareness.
These are just five of the factors one should consider when designing a website to please consumers. During the creative process as a whole, your web designer should critically plan and analyze design plans, while paying attention to your specifications, turning the process into a tasteful work of art.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Dana Hornor is an SEO copywriter and editor at J.M. Field Marketing, a full-service marketing firm and fulfillment center that specializes in Ecommerce solutions, warehouse fulfillment, inventory management, web design, graphic design, social media management and more. Connect with @DanaLynH on Twitter.
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