9 Ways Web Design Can Improve Website Usability
Usability is a crucial factor in the performance of any website. You want your site to provide a smooth, fast, and satisfying experience to visitors.
There are several factors that contribute to the usability and how well your website performs for users. Poor usability will harm your conversion rate, increase your bounce rate, and even cause visitors to question the credibility of your business.
Ensuring that visitors enjoy a clear, easy to use, and consistent experience will help you turn casual browsers into paying customers. To achieve this, you need to keep the following factors in mind when creating the web design elements of your website.
Let’s start off by going back to the basics of website design: accessibility. If visitors try to access your website and, for some reason, it doesn’t work – your website is useless.
The basics of accessibility:
- Reliable server – make sure visitors can connect to your website without coming across any loading errors. Invest in reliable hosting.
- Broken links – ensure all internal links on your website are working. Dead links are a sure fire way to frustrate users and cause them to bounce.
- Mobile responsive – it’s important that visitors can access and easily navigate your website, no matter what device and connection they use.
According to Magicdust, an agency that does web design in Sydney, clarity is key to usability. If you confuse or distract users, they’ll either forget why they came to your site, or get frustrated and abandon your site.
Visitors land on your website with a goal in mind. You should make it as fast and straightforward as possible for users to reach their goal. If you can achieve that, you lay the framework for each visitor to have a positive experience of your website.
- Keep it simple – focus on user intent and avoid distracting users with content that is not relevant.
- Guide your users – don’t just leave visitors to find their own way around, offer a helping hand to guide them through and show them what you have to offer.
- Easy navigation – make sure users can easily find their way around your site.
3. Intuitive Interface
Focus on providing an intuitive interface – one that doesn’t require extensive instruction, or an extended process of trial and error to figure out.
People have familiarity with a lot of web design concepts. By using design concepts people are familiar with, you can help visitors achieve their goals faster and efficiently interact with your site.
Human beings are drawn to patterns and familiarity, we’re much better at dealing with situations and things that we have seen before than unfamiliar ones.
If people don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. A badly designed can cause visitors to question your credibility in many ways.
Make it clear that you are a real company with real people. A substantial “About Us” page combined with clear contact details and a physical address can go a long way to establish credibility.
Your content is also essential in establishing the trustworthiness of your website. Make sure your content is grammatically correct and error free. Include testimonials and relevant industry credentials to win over your visitors.
5. Be Relevant
Make sure your web design and content is relevant. It’s essential that you know your audience and their pain points – why people come to your website.
Start by defining your buyer personas. Then, communicate with your customers and visitors to your website to establish their purpose for visiting your website. Finally, identify the situations and problems people are looking to solve when they visit your site.
This information is vital for informing your content and design choices to make sure your website is as user-friendly as possible.
Your main design elements should be consistent throughout every page of your website. Switching layouts and designs only create confusion for the user.
Imagine browsing an e-commerce store and adding a product to your cart. You decide to browse some more products and click onto a different page, only to be confronted by a different theme and layout. You’d be confused and probably abandon your purchase. Ensure all your web design elements are consistent across your website.
7. Easy to Read Content
If people struggle to read the text on your website, they won’t engage with your content, and they’ll bounce.
Pick a font that’s easy to read and pay attention to your spacing, the lengths of your paragraphs, and your choice of colours. Even a standard font can be difficult to make out if it’s made blue and put over a purple background.
The average person browsing the web will only read 20% of your website. Make sure your content is easily scannable:
- Use short paragraphs
- Include lots of subheadings
- Bullet points
If every section was a solid block of text, it would make it very difficult to read. Making sure your content is clear and easily scannable improves the usability of your website.
8. Stick to the Best Practices of Web Design
It’s fun to experiment and get creative. However, use that innovation in your products and marketing efforts, not in your web design.
People have expectations they expect to be met when they land on a web page, for example:
- Company logo located in the top left of the page
- Contact info in the top right
- Main menu located in the header of each page
- Search bar placed at the top of the header
- Social media links found in the footer
It might be tempting to try and develop a new and unique design for your website, but it will probably distract the flow of your visitors and harm your user experience. Web design best practices are established for a reason, follow them to avoid confusing your visitors. For more guidance check out
9. Follow WCAG standards
Around 15% of the population of the world lives with some type of disability. You want to ensure that every visitor to your website has a positive experience. Fortunately, the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) are there to ensure that your website is user-friendly for people with disabilities.
The WCAC states four principles to ensure your website meets accessibility standards:
- Robust for as many people as possible
For example, there are around 300 million people that suffer from colour blindness. They process certain colours differently and can’t distinguish between particular conflicting colours. Something you want to bear in mind when creating web elements.
Ensure you accommodate for visitors with hearing issues by adding captions to any video content, and avoid flashing lights and backgrounds that could trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
Usability is one of the most critical web design considerations that can affect the performance of a website. Neglect it, and you can say goodbye to your traffic and deprive your business of potential customers. Make the necessary changes to improve the usability of your website as soon as possible.
Improving usability is an ongoing process. Implement the above principles, but don’t stop there. You should keep testing your website to ensure you maintain great usability. Web design is about testing, analysing, and improving your site to ensure you provide a user-friendly experience that encourages users to take the next step and convert.