Website usability has become increasingly important with the growing number of mobile devices and its impact on digital marketing. Improving your site's usability can help your SEO campaign, increase your site's conversion rates, improve user engagement and create more return visitors. Here are six essential strategies that you can use to boost your website's usability:
Strategy #1: Create a Focused Navigation Path and Design a Strong Visual Hierarchy
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to create a broad site that gives users too many options. This can confuse users and detract them from your site's goals. What you want to do is to create a focused navigation path that helps both the user and your business meet their desired objectives. Present a limited number of options on your main page while still giving the user the ability to browse other pages through your navigation menu.
Think about why visitors have landed on your page in the first place, in order to come up with a strong home page navigation path. A big part of this that many web designers don't talk about is creating a visual hierarchy. You have to visually present what you want the users to focus on by making the most important elements bigger than the others, integrating strong copy that transitions well, using visual cues and using a layout that progresses users from one element to another.
Strategy #2: Optimize Your Site for Loading Speed
Did you know that page abandonment significantly increases as your loading time goes up? If you want to capture more leads, build more followers and acquire more customers, you need to optimize your site's loading speed. This is especially important when a large number of web users come from mobile devices which tend to have slower performances and connection than desktops. There are many strategies you can use to reduce load time speeds from enabling compression, switching to faster servers, using browser caching, to working on your CSS.
Strategy #3: Create a Seamless Login Interface
By understanding what your users want to do on a page, you can create a user interface and design that addresses their needs. If there's a clear purpose for a specific page, make sure all of your users are well accommodated. A perfect example is the Target Red Card login page. Unlike other card membership sites, they present all the options for why the user might be on the login page. They anticipate that the user might've lost their login/password, just got their Target Red Card and needs to register, haven't activated their card yet, or haven't signed up to their rewards email newsletter.
Strategy #4: Emphasize Features, Benefits and Use a Strong Call to Action
Getting users to interact with your website whether it's to play a video, click on a link, make a purchase or share your content on social media can be challenging. If your site is well designed and functions without any issues but is experiencing low engagement numbers, then the problem can be attributed to your copy or content. You need to give your users a reason to take the action that you desire.
You also need to use a strong CTA both on your homepage, as well as on your category pages. Don't rely on small blue links to get the job done. You need to use bold web buttons that are eye-catching and incorporate strong language to get the user to click. CopyBlogger has a case study that shows how adding web buttons increased conversion by 45%. Make sure to experiment with different web buttons and calls to action to see what yields the best results.
Strategy #5: Design a Simple Navigation Menu and Site Structure
A common usability mistake that many websites make is using complex menus and presenting a confusing site structure. You want to aim for a navigation menu that is simple, straightforward and intuitive. If you have a large site, it's a smart idea to use more than one navigation page (one for essential pages and one to help browse categories). You will also want to create an organized site structure and continue to organize your pages as your site grows. Many websites start off the site structure in the right direction but start falling behind as their site gets bigger.
Strategy #6: Optimize Your Site for Mobile Users
By now, you're probably using a responsive design for your website. If you haven't, you should make the switch as soon as possible as mobile users can make up anywhere from 20 to 50% of your total web visitors. In fact, the latest data shows that the overall number of mobile users has taken over desktop users. There are many different things you need to optimize in order to create an excellent mobile user experience:
You need to reduce your image size and make sure that the dimensions are fit for mobile devices.
You also need to redo your navigation menu so that it's easy to use on a mobile device with a small screen size. Using drop down menus, follow menus and icon based menus are some solutions for navigation menus.
Then there's the typography, making buttons big enough to easily tap, breaking content down to multiple pages, and more. Basically, there are many things that you need to do to (other than switch to responsive design) for mobile users.
By implementing these strategies, you will manage to boost your website's usability significantly. Usability isn't something that you assume. You can see the difference by looking at your performance metrics. By testing changes in your website design and comparing your numbers, you'll quickly realize the impact it has on your website's performance and profitability.