15 essential characteristics of a [user-friendly] website



A website is a basic requirement for an online presence. Every business or organization would like to have a user-friendly website design. They want a website that a user or visitor would like and would attract more traffic. What exactly is a user-friendly website? What are some of the user friendly websites’ characteristics?

Here are 15 characteristics that if used on your website, will make it user-friendly website design. A website designed with these 15 elements would definitely be user-friendly. This article provides web developers with tips on creating a user friendly website design.

1. Responsive

‘Responsive’ is a word commonly used with websites, but, what does this word mean? The principal meaning is of course that the website should be fast to load. No one has the patience to wait endlessly for a web page to load. Studies have shown that 47% of users expect a site to load within 2 seconds. If this doesn’t happen, they may well leave the site. The studies also show that 79% of users who experience performance issues in a website would not come back to that site. This data is a clear indication that a user-friendly site must have pages that load fast.

Apart from the speed of loading, a responsive site is one which works smoothly without any lag.  Responsive means the site has to respond or give feedback to let the user know what’s happening. For instance, showing a progress bar to indicate the downloading or opening of a page makes your site responsive and tells the user what is happening.

Check out this responsive website from Webmagics : Start up Webmagics theme

2. Mobile friendly

It is estimated that 55% of people across the world, use their mobile phones to access the internet. Couple this with the fact that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population has a mobile phone, and you can begin to appreciate the importance of having a mobile-friendly website design. There is nothing more frustrating for a user than to see a website that looks odd and topsy-turvy because it has been opened on a mobile phone browser.

A mobile version of a website is no longer a luxury – it is today a necessity. A user-friendly website design is one that has a mobile version of the website. It should allow those browsing on their smartphones to use the website effectively, without facing any navigation issues.

3. Sticky menus

This is a simple, yet effective way to make a website design user-friendly. There would be some web pages on a site which have more content and are therefore lengthy. Users would have to scroll down the page to read the content. To move to the next page, they have to scroll all the way back up to access the menu. Having a sticky menu that moves with the page is so convenient. It allows users to access the menu and navigate the site easily.

4. Conciseness

This is a basic communication principle. Keep it short. Content on your website needs to be concise. Too much of information or explanation may lead to the user losing interest. So, keep things short and simple. You can always add links for additional information for those who are interested. This is a good way to ensure crisp content that makes users want to read it.

Also Read : How to create a [dynamic] website ?

5. Content easy to scan

Most users wouldn’t have the patience to spend time reading everything that is on a webpage. Most of them would prefer to skim over the contents. They would like to quickly scan the contents from top to bottom to get an idea of what is available. When you design your webpage, you need to organize content is such a way that users would find it easy to scan the content and understand its gist. Use of proper headings and sub-headings, boldfacing words, using bullet points, presenting highlights are some ways to do this.

6. Familiar look and feel

Every website has a look and feel. While you may want your website to look different from others, there must be an element of familiarity in it. The look and feel must make use of common elements that would be found on most websites. For e.g., menu on the top, key contact details to the left side, all these are common across most websites. When you add such elements, it makes the site familiar for the user and makes him/her comfortable.

7. Easy to navigate

The site must be easy to navigate or browse. Menu buttons and links must be clear. It must be easy for the user to browse the website and search for information. Complicated menu items, and too many buttons on a page are a strict no-no. Use of search options is agood way to make the site friendly for navigation.

Ensuring that all menu options have clickable links, providing alt text so that visitors can know what each link does are some ways to make a site way to navigate. Having proper titles for each page, that is related to the menu option is a simple yet important thing to take care to ensure visitors can navigate your site easily.

8. Browser compatibility

Not everyone uses the same browser. Some use Chrome, some use Firefox, while others may use IE. Your website should look the same, irrespective of the browser used. There are certain functionalities in one browser which may not work in another. While designing the website, you need to avoid thesefunctionalities. The website should look the same in any browser to ensure the site is user-friendly.

9. Consistency

Consistency is all about uniformity. Your entire website must have the same look and feel. If you have each page looking different or if the menu options you have on one page are different from those on another page, it affects ease of use. Consistency ensures that users are comfortable when they browse the entire site. They shouldn’t feel that they have moved to some other site. When you visit the most user friendly websites 2019 you would find that they all have the consistency element in them.

10. Attractive

The website must definitely look attractive. The attraction could be as a result of having a good layout of the page, good colour scheme, proper use of images and graphics, fonts that are easy to read, and keeping the page simple without too many elements. This would make the webpage look attractive and would motivate a user to stay on the page and go through it (rather than go away from it).

A simple layout plan like having the menu and navigation options on the top, a slider below it and ads to the rights, images to the left, with text in the middle is a good way to make a site look attractive.

11. Branding and color scheme

The color of course, plays an important role in making a site look good. The color scheme should be uniformly used. It doesn’t mean that you use the same color in all pages. But, there must be a scheme or pattern. For eg: a different color scheme for each of your product pages. This makes the site interesting to go through. You should avoid too many or bright colors. You can use colors to create an identity for your website. The user should automatically know that he / she is on your website.

12. Having a sitemap

This is a very basic element. A sitemap is a complete list of all the pages on your website, with their tree structure, i.e: a sequence of pages. There are many users who don’t have the patience to keep clicking through menus to find what they want. They may prefer going to the sitemap, which shows them all the pages, they can then directly open the page they are looking for.

13. Accessible

Websites are used even by those who are partially visually disabled or elderly persons whose eyesight is no longer perfect. Your website should have font sizes that are fairly large so people can read these easily. Also remember, visitors may open your webpage on screen readers. You must make your website accessible on screen readers. This allows you to reach out to all types of visitors.

14. Well planned architecture

Architecture refers to the contents of your website and how it is arranged. Before you even start designing the website, you need to work out how you would present the information you have. How would be products be listed? How many products per page? How many pages for each product? What would be the menu structure? Are there specific pages for each type of customers eg: beginners, students, etc.?

The answers to these questions reveal the architecture of your website. If you have planned your architecture well, you would have acceptable answer to all these questions. While planning the structure of architecture of your website, think from the user’s point of view. Assume you are a user. What would you want to see first? How should be site be structured? When you think like a user, you would be able to create a website that is definitely user-friendly.

15. Efficient

What is an efficient website? It is one that achieves your goals as well as the users’ goals. Your goals would be to create a website that is fast to load, attractive and has all the information users may want, arranged in a concise fashion. The visitor would be looking for a website that can give him the precise information he wants and is easy to browse. When all these goals are achieved, you can say that your website is efficient.

Performance is another issue. All the programming elements need to work well without any errors or slowdown. An efficient site is one that performs well, without giving any problems. Efficiency is thus ensuring all the goals are met. An efficient website is, without doubt, the most user-friendly website.

The above are the 15 different characteristics of a good website. While designing your website, you can keep these features in mind, so that you can have a website that is user-friendly and liked by visitors.

Also read : How to create a {Professional} Website in 2019

User-friendly websites

In order to understand the above, here are a few user friendly website examples. These are award-winning websites.

  • https://hkipf.org.hk/ The website of the Hong Kong International photo festival uses and innovative navigation technique. The site layout and text size make it attractive.


The list of user friendly website can be seen on the awards website.

A few examples[R1] 

Also, one can look at examples of nonuser friendly website to understand how a website should not be designed. For example, check out http://www.gatesnfences.com/ – the site has so much clutter with text, menu boxes all over the place. There is too much content on the home page, it makes the site totally unfriendly to use.


http://www.arngren.net/ is another website which proves that too much is too bad.

Making the site user-friendly

In this article, we answered the question why is it important to have a user friendly website? The answer is to attract visitors and keep them interested in your offerings. More traffic to a website can translate to more revenues. By implementing the characteristics described here, you can make your website user-friendly and liked by all those who visit it.

If you were wondering, how to create such a website, then you look at user friendly website builder applications. You can make use of the website builder options on WordPress.com, Wix.com, Shopify.com, HostGator.com,and similar sites to create a website that is simple, attractive and has all the features described here.

Conclusion

In order to enhance your online presence, you need to have a website that is user-friendly. You can make use of a website builder or design the site yourself by keeping in mind the fifteen different characteristics describes here. This would ensure your website is user-friendly and attracts visitors to it.

References:

  1. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/web-design-11-characteristics-user-friendly-website
  2. https://wiredimpact.com/blog/7-characteristics-user-friendly-website/
  3. http://usabilitypost.com/2009/04/15/8-characteristics-of-successful-user-interfaces/
  4. https://siteimprove.com/en-us/blog/what-qualities-make-a-website-successful/
  5. https://www.awwwards.com/
  6. https://www.awwwards.com/websites/sites_of_the_year/
  7. https://edit.co.uk/blog/top-10-worst-websites/
  8. https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-choose-the-best-website-builder/
  9. https://www.statista.com/statistics/241462/global-mobile-phone-website-traffic-share/
  10. https://neilpatel.com/blog/loading-time/
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