When designing a website it is important to consider website usability, we believe that websites should be SEO friendly as well as user friendly but there are 7 deadly sins many website designers fail to take into account.
A lot of website designers get caught up in innovative website designs without considering how the users will react to it, the old acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is a good motto to design by as simple websites perform much better than unconventional websites that are difficult to navigate around.
SEO is great for getting visitors to a website but if the site is not user friendly it will not convert and make money, a website needs to be both SEO friendly and user friendly to get a good ROI (Return on Investment). However web usability and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) have quite a lot of cross over, as the same way users will not be able to navigate around the site means the search engines won’t be able to navigate around the site either. If the site is slow to load or difficult to read you could be missing out on SEO Traffic and conversions.
Here are our 7 deadly sins many website designers need to watch out for when designing a new website:
1. Putting important information below the fold
The part of your website that can be viewed without scrolling down is said to be above the fold – this is prime advertising space and should have important information or content that a user can see straight away. Many website designers put fancy images above the fold so the user has to scroll down to see the actual content relative to the site. Above the fold should always have the most important information, this area is like a shop window so should have calls to action, trust badges, featured products, main services etc. By having these above the fold it is easier for the user to see and click through to a conversion.
2. Remember the 3 click Rule
The 3 click rule relates to the number of clicks a user needs to do before reaching what they are looking for, if the user is still looking for a product or information after 3 clicks they are more likely to go to another website. By keeping products easy to find with suitable landing pages they should be easy to find and your website will have a much higher conversion rate.
3. Over-complicated navigation
Recently I have seen more and more unorthodox navigations being used, these are meant to make the website more interesting but in truth actually complicate the site. People are used to a simple navigation and get confused when a website doesn’t conform to this. If a user has to search for the correct link to get them to the next page they will get frustrated, internet users don’t spend a long time on a site anyway so over-complicating things eats into valuable time. Having a simple navigation will also help SEO as search engines travel easily through your website and index more and more pages.
4. Inconsistent designs and styles on different pages
Your website should have a clear identity and as the user travels through the website should have clear branding that is recognisable as being the same site. If the user gets to a different page that looks different to the rest of the site, they will think they have clicked onto another website and will lose trust in the page. This is particularly important if you are adding a blog or shop to a directory or subdomain on your site.
5. Slow to load
If your website is slow to load then users will get frustrated and leave the website, now most homes have fast broadband and so will not put up with slow loading sites like they used to when their was just dial up. Factors that may slow doen your website include large images, videos or your server/hosting package. You can upgrade your server to increase the speed and their are many ways a good web designer can optimise the layout, images and videos to load much quicker.
6. Pop up Windows
Pop up windows are associated with advertising and spam so if you are navigating to a new page you should make sure the new page opens in the same tab/window. Although it is the same site, users psychologically associate a new window with an advert or new site.
7. Not hiting a HOME RUN
Usability expert Jacob Nielson recommends a HOME RUN for good usability, something many website designer have never heard of:
- High quality content
- Often updated
- Minimal download time
- Ease of use
- Relevant to user’s needs
- Unique to the online medium
- Net centric organizational culture, meaning that your process of doing business is built around using the internet as a core method of communication, information distribution and service to partners, sponsors, members, clients and prospects.
If you are having a new website design make sure your website designer keeps to these important usability guidelines, for more information on building a userfriendly website that can be found in the search engines contact SEO Creative.