Designing websites for SEO and designing websites for user experience are often two very different processes. At times the priorities are at odds with each other – what is good for SEO may be difficult for the user, and vice versa. But designing a website with the needs of your visitors in mind can drastically increase your conversions.
While the population as a whole is gradually becoming more comfortable with navigating less-than-friendly websites, some groups – such as senior citizens and the visually-impaired – still struggle with accessing information from difficult or disorienting websites. Not factoring in the needs of these groups can result in a huge loss in sales. One study from the Nielsen Norman Group found that sales could increase by 35% when a website was designed to create the same experience for senior citizens as for other demographics.
Three key elements – appearance, navigation, and action – are crucial in considering how to create the best user experience on your site. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of websites that incorporate some of the important elements of an accessible user experience.
Using a font that is easy to read is the only way to guarantee that people gather the information you are presenting on your site. It’s also an important element of making sure your website is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has guidelines for creating accessible web pages.
Default font size is generally 12-pixels, and using responsive web design can help maintain your layout if a user magnifies text through their browser or accesses your site from a tablet or mobile device. Some sites incorporate a magnifier right on the webpage, which is much more convenient than altering browser settings. Even if your font is a perfect size, it must also be a readable style.
Small Chunks of Text
Website visitors are often looking for information quickly, so make it easy to skim by breaking up your content into easily absorbed sections. Separate the sections using bolded headings and subheadings, and incorporate images throughout your pages. This makes your information seem more accessible and less intimidating and makes it more likely that your visitors will stay on your site.
Further reading: Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content from Copyblogger
Vibrant and High-Contrast Colors
First impressions are always influential, but perhaps never more so than on a website. Color is the biggest factor in website first impressions, with one study finding that up to 90% of initial website judgments can be based exclusively on color choice.
Catch visitors’ attention and make navigation easier by using vibrant and/or high contrast colors throughout your site. Bold and vibrant colors are simply attractive, like this example from El Burro.
Further reading: Vibrant Colors in Web Design from UX Planet
Simple Navigation Bar
When visitors arrive at your site, they want to easily know where to go and how to find the information they are looking for. They also need it to be easy to jump between sections of your site. Few things are worse than coming across a website that seems impossible to navigate. Failing to optimize your site for easy navigation can have disastrous consequences that will plague your business. The navigation bar at the top of the page is the most important element of navigation: it is your opportunity to direct your visitors to the most important parts of your site. For the most user-friendly experience, lock the navigation bar, so it is always visible, no matter how far a visitor scrolls down.
TransUnion’s ShareAble for Hires does just that. Their navigation bar remains at the top of every page as an easy reference, and it has only five categories for users to choose from. These categories have specific labels that anticipate what the user might be looking for.
Minimal Moving Parts
For the best user experience, visitors should be able to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted by pop-ups, chat bars, or other elements that intervene with the user’s view. Too many of these can cause a visitor to leave your website out of frustration, especially if they are persistent and have no clear exit. While these elements can be used to great effect for capturing leads, they should be used with caution and always with the user’s experience and intentions in mind.
Further reading: 10 Guidelines for Navigation from Usability Geek
Guide your visitors to precisely the action you want them to take with specific and highly visible call-to-action buttons. Renovate America does this by explaining briefly about the possible tasks, and then having clearly marked buttons like ‘Find a Contractor’ and ‘Get Financing.’
It’s important to not overuse call-to-action buttons. Place them at strategic points throughout your site, so they show up when it makes sense for a user to click it. For example, a ‘start here’ button makes sense at the top of the homepage, but a ‘try now’ button might have more success farther down on the page after the visitor has had a chance to learn about your product or services. Of course, these buttons need to follow the guidelines for color and font outlined above.
Further reading: How to Create the Perfect Call-to-Action from Optinmonster
Making it easy for your visitors to navigate your site is essential to increasing conversions. Improving your user experience will have the greatest effect on older demographics, but even younger and more tech-savvy consumers will leave your site if it is difficult to use or unattractive to them. Make your website work best for your visitors by considering all of these factors and how they can work together to create the best user experience for your customers.
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Cat Nilsson is a Managing Editor at 365 Business Tips. She is an expert in content marketing and non-branded growth. She enjoys writing on a plethora of topics, from SEO to social media.