The Basics of Website Usability Best Practices


 01/19/2016 12:00 AM

Believe it or not, you can build your own website from scratch without any previous experience in web design. Blogs, photography portfolios, online shops, and business homepages all serve very different purposes, but no matter what your message or mission, it's always important to make your website as user-friendly as possible. Just learn a few basics before beginning, and make sure your customers can find you online.

Consistency

Colors and fonts should fall within the same color scheme, and your use of each color should be consistent. For example, if the hyperlinks are blue on your homepage, they should be blue on every page too. A consistent, muted background will also contribute to a seamless, professional experience. As you click through the pages, it should appear as though you're flipping through a menu instead of visiting separate, isolated parts with different colors in each background. Don't fall into the trap that defined the internet of the late 1990's, either; light backgrounds and dark fonts are ideal, but if you do want to use a lighter font color, don't pair it with a dizzying bright neon background.

Conciseness

Avoid large blocks of text and focus on readability and spacing instead. Social media blurbs and smartphone apps have shortened the collective attention span of modern internet users. If you want to keep and hold the attention of new visitors, create as much white space as possible by turning every list into a series of bullet points. Break up paragraphs into two or three sentences at the most, and if you're sharing an article or blog post that gets wordy, use a subhead between every two to five paragraphs. Writing your subheads first can help you organize your thoughts and prevent rambling, too.

Compatibility

SITE123 is proud to optimize each website for mobile devices, tweaking the display to fit a variety of screen shapes and sizes. You should do the same for internet browsers. Many an amateur web designer has spent hours poring over every detail of their new website, only to realize that it doesn't look nearly as good on a friend's screen. That's because competing web browsers and screen sizes accommodate the same features in different ways. From videos and pictures to font sizes and background dimensions, always make sure you've viewed your website from more than one device and every possible browser. If you don't, visitors may assume that an unfinished product or altered formatting is actually your best attempt at designing a usable website.

Navigation

Our templates offer built-in navigation menus and customizable ways to orient your website's readers. Take advantage of these. Don't try to squeeze unrelated pieces of information, such as your mission statement and FAQ, in the same page. Instead, settle on four or five pages and make sure they're all accessible from the main URL. Some websites don't actually need a navigation menu, instead relying on a site map for direction and using the main homepage to zero in on an important image, post, or sign-in form.

Designing a responsive website with an intuitive layout will always be worthwhile. Seek second and third opinions from people you trust, make sure to proofread for grammar and spelling errors, and keep your website updated as often as possible. Usability is a necessity if you want your online home to succeed, but thanks to interactive tools and resources like the ones we offer at SITE123, that won't be a problem for you.

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