Usability and ease of access are two of the most important aspects of modern web design — although often overlooked by design/development teams. We, as users, expect the websites we frequent to be quick, intuitive, and allow easy access to the content we’re seeking. At Marketingpugetsound, user experience starts from the initial client contact, and is adhered to throughout the web design and development process. We strive for clean, lean, and semantic HTML markup, and work toward delivering a website that is quick and easy to use.
How to make your website fast(er)
There are many ways to make a fast website, but the first place to start is in the code. As a web developer, I generally check out page code, just to satisfy my own nerdy sense of curiosity, and I’m frequently stunned at what is passing for website code these days. Here are a couple of tips to help you make your own site a little quicker:
If you use a content management system, like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, make sure to only enable the plugins or modules you’re actually using. Each one of those plugins is likely making your website just a tad to a bunch slower.
Uploading DSC_3025-42.JPG straight out of your camera and onto your website is a bad idea. Trim that image a bit! Most cameras these days shoot pictures at least 2000+ pixels wide by default, and most websites you view on your laptop are around 960-1040 pixels wide. And if you’ve ever tried to load a gigantic picture on your iphone–well, I think I’d rather watch my beard grow.
Minimize or eliminate your Adobe Flash content. We’ve all heard the talk, and flash is out for the web. In many cases, flash is the heaviest thing on your page. With the advances in CSS, Jquery, and HTML markup, you can achieve much of the same functionality without the added weight of Adobe Flash.
Remember, you don’t have to put everything on one page. Sure, the home page gets the most views, but remember first impressions are the most important. If you’ve got the kitchen sink on the home page of your website, its going to take forever to load, and then your users click away. You don’t want that do you?
How to make your website easier to use
Well, now that you’ve sped up your site, it’s time to make it a little easier on the eyes (and easier to use!). Here are a couple of tips that I suggest right of the bat:
Let your design BREATHE!
Give your content a little breathing room by adding some space between the elements. The quickest way to get something noticed on your website is to increase the space around it. A tight, cluttered layout just makes it that much more difficult to sift through everything to find out what’s important. Save your users that.
Be clear what I can click, and what I can’t
Certain best practices have evolved on the internet, and many still aren’t adhered to. Give the user feedback where appropriate, don’t make me wonder where I’m at on your website, stick to established convention unless you’re sure it’ll be a better user experience. If you are a web designer, blow the dust off your copy of Don’t Make Me Think! by Steve Krug. Even 10 years after it was published, it still applies. That must mean something!
Write content for human beings, not googlebots
I know everything in your being tells you to stick as many seo keywords and location names as you can into your content, but think about who you’re trying to cater to:
When I read something that sounds like it was written by Siri on my iphone, It makes my head hurt. Please try to remember that at some point, humans may be reading your content and give them something engaging to consume.
Don’t forget about the Mobile Web!
Remember, more and more people are using your website on their mobile phone or tablet. Of course it’s best if you can cater your design to them specifically by using Responsive Web Design practices, but maybe you’re not ready for a website redesign yet! Here are a couple of mobile gotchas and how you can deal with them:
Touchscreen devices don’t “hover”. That means any navigational elements that require hovering your mouse over them to work are difficult, if not impossible on a mobile phone or tablet.
Most mobile users want quick, easy access to the information they seek. This goes for websites in general, but is specifically important for mobile users. When you’re on the bus, and remember that you need to make a dentist appointment, is it easy to get at the telephone number on their website from your phone?
Make user experience first in your web design
The web is a fantastic place, full of possibilities for your business and brand. Remember to cater to your users, and put the customer first. Through following best practices, and creating engaging content, you can open up many business opportunities to grow your brand online. At Marketingpugetsound we’re putting our customers first, and delivering for them the best user experience possible on the web.
Incorporate Cat videos:
Lets not forget about cats. Everyone likes cats. Here’s how one agency incorporates them into their design process: