Sri Lanka has a growing Internet audience which is increasing the demand for web site designers. Web designing in Sri Lanka seems to be more about fancy Flash scripts and less about website usability. Its all very well to have a fancy looking flash based website but if the visitors can't find the information they are looking for then your website isn't worth much. In one of my previous posts I talked about search engine optimization in Sri Lanka , but ranking for key words and bringing in visitors isn't worthwhile if you are not providing the relevant information in an easy to find way.Below are few tips that could be useful in making your blog or website more user friendly.
Tips to make your website user friendly
- Have a consistent website design - Everything about your website should be consistent , the color theme from one page to another shouldn't vary drastically. Same goes for link colors and sidebar links. If you are underlining your links make sure you underline all of them in a consistent manner. This should apply to fonts as well , basically what you should do is use your common sense. Getting a few opinions from different people also helps in this regard.
- Display contact info - One thing I find missing in most Sri Lankan websites , contact information is something users regularly check on websites and in some sites its the hardest to find thing as well if it is there at all. Don't display contact info as a small link in your blogs footer but show it prominently in the header area. Its a good idea to have a separate page for contact info and link to it from the home page. Make sure to provide the necessary details and provide a contact form as well.
- Have a good navigation structure - The important pages of your website should be always accessible. They could be displayed in the header navigation bar or in the sidebar but it should found easily.This is especially true for blogs where visitors tend to leave quickly if they don't find the information they are looking for.If you take this blog for example the RSS subscription is visible in every page. So are the important links in the header navigator which includes the contact info etc. Displaying the home button displayed everywhere is also very important.
- Make your links descriptive - This could be considered as part of good navigation but making your links descriptive is very important. If the link is going to a page about web design services then make sure to name is "web design services" instead of just "services"
- Have a site search - Make it easier for users who are looking for information in your site. It is very easy to integrate services like Google site search etc so you have no excuse for not providing a search box.
- Use proper language and grammar - Your website is the first impression a potential customer has of your service or company so make sure to make it a good impression. If your website is filled with spelling and grammar errors then the customer might think if he can't properly maintain a website how could I trust him with a service or a product.
- Make sure forms and shopping carts work - If your website has feedback forms or any sort of form make sure they are working properly. If you are a merchant selling something then make sure that your shopping cart software works properly and your payment options are secure.
I hope the above tips will help you make your website better and much user friendlier to the user. If you are looking to get your website designed you can contact me.