Usability is crucial for websites, or visitors will quickly leave and go elsewhere. If your site is not user friendly, you’ll naturally have a higher bounce rate and struggle to compete with other more accessible sites. Here are six mistakes to avoid in order to make your site useful to visitors.
1) No navigation support
Browsing a site and visiting different pages should be quick and simple. Every site should have a sitemap so that visitors can see all of the pages and be able to choose where they want to go. A search feature is also crucial, as it is one of the first things that people will look for.
2) Cluttering a page with content
Designers need to understand the value of white space on websites. Having every space filled with a colourful picture, video or advert will tax the eyes and the patience of visitors, especially if it makes it difficult for them to locate the information they are looking for.
3) Infinite scrolling isn’t always a good thing
When visitors arrive on a website they don’t want to see that they need to keep scrolling to find what they are looking for. Your key content should be prominent at the top of pages and there should only be a need to scroll when it is absolutely necessary. More often than not, people will leave a site if they find they need to scroll down through lots of information or white space.
4) No help function
The more complex a website is, the more important it is to have a help function. This should be in place to help users solve any problems they encounter. If the feature is not in place, people will simply leave the site when they get confused or experience difficulty.
5) Point instead of click
Pointing and bringing up menus appeals to some designers but not all web users will appreciate it. The feature can take control away from users, meaning that menus and information can pop up when not expressly clicked for. This can put people off so you need to think carefully about users and what they will want from the site.
6) Open links in new windows
This is a hotly contested point that has people arguing both for and against it. Having links opening in a new window means people don’t automatically leave your site when they click something. This has benefits, but some people claim links should open in the same window because it is what visitors expect. Whatever view you take, you should take great care with links.