Five ways to improve usability in your web design on a budget
Web Design on a Budget
Investing in search engine optimisation (SEO) is a powerful way to direct additional traffic to your website, but if the site itself doesn’t ‘do it’ for visitors then it could well be money wasted. So if you’ve recently been spending on your website’s SEO it may be prudent to also invest a little in your web design. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on bells and whistles – by simply making a few small changes here and there you can increase your site’s usability, and therefore its effectiveness.
1 – Simplify your navigation
Because a website is really just a collection of pages, you should pay special attention to how those pages are connected. Ensure that there is a clear way to get from one page to any other on each page and keep navigation consistent.
2 – Focus on readability rather than ‘wow’ factor
Colourful backgrounds and lots of images may seem like a good way of capturing attention, but in reality they can be a significant distraction from the actual content of your website. Conversely, keeping things simple can make it easier for visitors to focus on what you actually have to say, rather than what your website’s ‘wearing’. Be sure to also use easily readable fonts such as Arial, Georgia or Times New Roman.
3 – Break up text
Even with today’s superior computer and tablet screens, people seldom wish to read long passages of text as they would in a newspaper or magazine. If you’ve got a lot of information to get across then it may be a good idea to split it across several pages. Similarly, text should be broken down into easily readable (and scannable) chunks with sub-headers and bullet lists where appropriate.
4 – Be mindful of load times
Even today, not everyone has a high-speed broadband connection so take this into account when adding lots of high-resolution images or flash animations. It’s also worth noting that many people now access content over mobile connections, so make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
5 – Give every page a clear purpose
Chances are, your visitors are on your site to achieve something specific, and you certainly want to achieve specific outcomes (selling a product/ subscription etc), so give your pages specific purposes. For example, have one page to describe your services, another for key benefits, another for terms and conditions, and so on.