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There is nothing as frustrating to an internet user as a website that falls short of expectations. A frustrated visitor to your site is one that is unlikely to come back. That also means you will end up losing a possible sale or subscriber. Over time, you will end up losing influence and revenue.
It is imperative therefore that you become familiar with the characteristics of user-friendly websites. This will enable you to identify weaknesses in your own site so that you can rectify them before you begin you lose visitors.
So, what are the characteristics of user-friendly websites?
1. User-Friendly Websites Should Have Quick Loading Speeds
If an internet user wants to access your web pages and is forced to wait for a long time for them to load, count that user as one visitor lost. Internet users are very impatient. They have plenty of options and are unwilling to tolerate slow loading speeds.
Ensure therefore that your website has quick loading speeds. Do bear in mind that loading speeds are affected by issues such as types of images on your page, flash content, and excess coding.
2. User-Friendly Websites Should Be Accessible To All
If your website is inaccessible to certain groups of people such as the deaf, the elderly and the blind, then consider it user-unfriendly.
Your website needs to be accessible to everyone. People with eyesight problems should be able to access audio content. Those with hearing issues should have access to highly visible content and sign language interpretation where necessary.
Do take time therefore to make your website accessible to both the able-bodied and the disabled. Consider using alterable text, alt image tags, and accurate coding where necessary. This will enable you to attract a wide variety of internet users whose needs are not being met elsewhere.
3. User-Friendly Websites Should Be Navigable
A cluttered website that is hard to navigate through is very annoying to most visitors. No one likes to use a site where tabs are not labeled properly and where the search feature is missing. A site that loses its visitors is a bad one.
A user-friendly website must have the search feature, clearly labeled tabs, category links, and even an updated site map. Visitors to your website also expect to have easy access to the About and Contact pages.
A visitor to your website should be able to determine easily where he or she currently is. A clear direction of where he or she should go next is also important. If your website visitor can find the way throughout your website, then you have succeeded in making your website navigable and therefore partially user-friendly.
4. User-Friendly Websites Should Be Mobile-Friendly
There are over 7 billion mobile devices in the world today. Mobile-based internet access is at a higher rate than it has ever been.
Therefore, your website must be mobile-friendly in order to be user-friendly. You should have a mobile version of your site. Every aspect of your website, from images to textual content should be able to translate well across all mobile devices. Otherwise, you risk losing the billions of people who may possibly be interested in what your website has to offer.