Nowadays websites are a core tool and play a vital part in your business exposure, so of course you want yours to be as successful as possible. Aside from all the coding behind it there are many other aspects to take into account from the design to the content, but you can figure out a lot of what you need to improve by experimenting your site from a user point of view. Don’t worry if you don’t have a website yet, you can still keep this in mind when starting from scratch and use it to review your final product when it’s done.
So let’s take a look:
1. Identify your priorities
You need to make sure your main message is reaching clearly without extra information getting in the way. Take a look at your content: Is there a defined hierarchy guiding the user to the important stuff you want them to see first? Additional features don’t need to be drawing attention at the same level or the user won’t know where to look.
If you have different menus or categories, make sure these are nested in a logical and understandable way so there’s a defined path for the user to follow. You can use typography and color coding to help identify.
2. User Experience
Things should be easy for the user, so you shouldn’t present them with extra steps just for your own benefit like asking additional information that doesn’t really affect what the user is trying to get done.
Guide them not only with the design but also with messages if needed; specially if something went wrong, let them know what’s happening so they can fix it or simply to reassure them with some feedback on their actions. You can read more about friendly messages for users in this post.
Even buttons can provide feedback when clicked, like a subtle “pressed” animation or a color change. Don’t leave the user wondering if the button was actually clicked or not, this could lead to multiple clicking.
Go around your site as a user, even try giving wrong data to cause problems. For example, filling out a form and submitting it with a wrong password or a missing field, does it take you back to an empty form you need to fill all over again? That can be pretty frustrating… Display the warning under the field instead so they just need to correct that one.
3. Go mobile friendly
The amount of internet usage via mobile is increasing every year at a vertiginous pace, you can’t afford to stay behind. If your site is hard to understand in a phone screen, it will only take seconds for the user to take their business somewhere else.
From usability to design responsiveness, you can read more about mobile friendly websites here.
4. Don’t take your site for granted
Even if your site has been running for a long time, keep an eye on it. Some functions can break when you least expect it, maybe they’re no longer compatible with certain browser version or you added some changes that messed up with a part of the page you thought that wouldn’t be affected by it.
Make the time to double check every once in awhile, especially critical functionalities like registration, shopping cart, or contact forms. You may be losing customers without even knowing it cause you thought everything was working just fine.
These are only a few suggestion you might find useful, but there’s a whole world about the subject. Still, for me it will always be about getting to know your user by putting yourself in their shoes.