Article

Faye Eldridge
Faye Eldridge 14 October 2020

4 Challenges in Creating a User-Friendly Website Design

To create a website which is accessible, you need to design and develop it in a way that all users have equal access to the information, functionality and features of the site. But your time is limited. By the time you finish this sentence, someone will visit and abandon your website. Unless you give your visitors a reason to stick around, they're gone.

High bounce rate is an indicator of visitors' lack of interest. It may be absolutely fine for a user to check out one page, especially if it's a press release or another event driven piece of content. But your goal should be to build a relationship with your visitors. 

Success in website design is measured by how effectively it communicates with, and guides its visitors. And given how hard it is to attract users in the post-advertising era, it is harder to incorporate good website design without coming across as too sales-y. This is where the user-friendly website design comes in.

Think ​of your website as a testing ground – you really have to improvise the look and feel of navigation, and this requires solving certain design problems. Before we delve into them, it’s important to discuss why exactly user-friendliness is so important. 

Most websites​ have a bounce rate of 85% - which means that a good bulk of your lead generation efforts go down the drain. If the traffic came from Google ads, that’s a good waste of the PPC budget. This is why we always recommend carefully optimizing your landing pages before launching your PPC campaigns.

This ​is usually the exclusive expertise of a website design agency, who carefully juggle the business’s goals with user-friendliness. It’s a high-wiring act that requires lots of trials and errors to get right, but it can be done. 

Here are 4 UI challenges that must be solved when creating a user-friendly website. 

1. Incorporating GUI Elements

Have you seen those radical new buttons, links, buttons, and scrollbars used in so many websites today? While they look impressive and professionally done, have you asked yourself if it makes the user’s life difficult? 

If the answer to this question is yes, then you’ve just lost a good chunk of users. 

Website design, no matter how chic and impressive, must keep usability front and center. If the GUI element detracts from the overall usability, then you’re better off removing it entirely. In website design, you have to prioritize accessibility, usability, and aesthetics: in that order. Buttons and horizontal scrolling should only be used if you can guarantee it won’t confuse your users. 

Here’s a nice rule of thumb to remember in website design: if you’re incorporating a new design element merely for the sake of progress, then you’re better off avoiding it. 

2. Avoid Navigation Menus if You Don’t Need Them

Many UI designers take novel design ideas and just blow them out of proportion. A good example of this would be Hamburger menus and infinite scrolling. Both trends have picked up steam and are being used with reckless abandon by thousands of websites; whether the information architecture needs these menus is an entirely separate matter.

Infinite scrolling only looks good if the information architecture demands it. A good example would be Twitter, Facebook, Google Images, and various ecommerce websites; in which case infinite scrolling is a good enough solution. But ask yourself this question: how will your users find and mark content they actually like?

How would they move back and forth from the content of their choice? How will they navigate through the sheer amount of information you’re throwing at them?

This also brings up Hamburger menus: a magical navigation menu that makes navigation a walk in the park for visitors – or so it seems. Its name comes from its design: that is it consists of three horizontal lines that resemble a hamburger. And much like its real counterpart, the hamburger menu is designed to save space. 

But it’s an icon that thoroughly confuses users. For starters, do people actually click through hamburger menus at all? And even if they do, if the menu items are so important shouldn’t they occupy a more prominent spot on the screen? 

A menu is only important if it can achieve two things:

  • They tell the user where they are
  • They show you where else you can go

Hamburger menus, if not done right, can be terrible at both because the menu is not on the screen and isn’t visible enough. 

However, the good news is that hamburger menus have become kind of ubiquitous – they’re just about everywhere, from apps to websites to video games. They’ve even found their way in to print. It’s an icon that has been seared into the minds of online users and has become synonymous with navigation. People are familiar with it and can rely on it for navigation, it’s very similar to how users know the home icon is where you go to the main menu or the trash can icon is where you delete files.

In digital spaces where visual real estate is hard to come by, such as websites and mobile apps, the hamburger menu can conserve space. After all, you should never overwhelm your visitors with too many choices. This is because when users are presented with too many choices, they tend to not make one at all.

3. Creating a Responsive Site 

The bulk of online traffic now comes from mobile devices. Desktop websites are essential, of course, but they should readily load for mobile users as well. The last thing you want is to turn away your audience because of a terrible mobile experience. Nowadays, mobile website development has become so easy that it’s inexcusable to not incorporate it into your design. 

There are WordPress plugins and affordable UI designers to help make your website more responsive. 

Below are three key elements of a responsive site:

Fluid Grid: Fixed percentages allow users with different screen resolutions and devices to see the same screen like everybody else.  

Adaptive Images and Text: Images and font sizes can’t be kept the same for all devices, hence you have to tweak the code so that it loads fully optimized for each different device. This requires making careful adjustments to website code, for example to the CSS file. 

Media Queries: If you’ve successfully implemented codes for the above two scenarios, it’s time to get them assembled. A media query tells what to specifically display on desktop and mobile devices. 

4. Quick Loading Speed

Most users have a very low attention span and you’re competing for every passing second. Today’s online user simply doesn’t have the patience to wait more than 2 seconds for your webpage to load. 

Want to increase website speed? There are many creative ways of doing this without spending more money on hosting:

Compressed Website: Images and videos are a crowd-pleaser, but too much media can actually distract from the overall experience and slow your website down. Apart from making careful use of images, compress your websites using solutions like RIOT, Smush.it, etc. 

Split Images: It isn’t a good idea to squeeze every bit of information on a single page. It is more beneficial to give your website several short pages for faster loading, plus it also gives you more SEO advantage.

Clean Coding: Search engines use crawlers to understand what your page is all about. If you confuse them with complex coding, it will only force them to take their time, or worse, ignore your website completely. So always prioritize clean coding. 

How do you approach navigation on your website? Let us know in the comments below.

Author Bio -

Faye Eldridge is the founder and director of The Fyami Marketing group limited. Fyami is a curious web design and marketing consultancy in London, that provides demand generation, lead nurturing, digital, social media, and general marketing support and solutions.’ Our mission is to get more businesses in this technology-led digital age. Faye believes in positive influencing, transparency, diversity, being inquisitive, being tenacious, and sharing knowledge. She has a Master’s degree and is currently partaking in doctorate business research relating to the CMO and CTO collaboration.

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