How well you organize and design your website will play a crucial role in the success of your marketing. A user on your site should be able to seamlessly navigate from page to page gathering the information that they are looking for and be able to bypass the rest. It is essential to understand your website users. Effective layout of your site and intuitive navigation will prevent you from inadvertently driving away valuable site traffic.
It is important to understand that when a user comes to your website they already know what it is that they are looking for. So, the question is: does your website offer what they are looking for? In some instances the user could be searching for a particular product to purchase, trying to find an answer to for a specific question, or need to gather information for a particular topic – you get the idea. The point being is that your user is on a mission, and if you don’t make it immediately apparent that your website has the information that they need, they will go elsewhere. However, there are preventative measures that you can take to make sure that the user on your site is happy and quickly finds what they came for.
1) Immediate Confirmation
As a user enters your website they are looking for immediate confirmation that they are in the right place – so it is important to make it obvious on the homepage what the purpose of you website is.
2) Relevant Linking
Now, remember that the visitors coming to your site already know what they want to find. Your navigation structure should provide confidence that they are getting closer to the information that they are searching for. Links should be easy to construe and concise. Don’t use terms that will only confuse the user and influence them to leave.
3) Avoid overthinking
Causing your user to overthink delays their progress in fulfilling their mission. Each time you make a user overthink you cause frustration and you risk the chance of them leaving. Some examples that cause overthinking are:
• Forcing registration
• Using unnecessary long forms to fill out
• Introduction page
• Immoderate amounts of content
As a rule, users don’t like to be confused or puzzled over how to do things. If a user can’t find their way around your site, whether is usability issues, bad design or site organization structure they will leave and your competition will love your results! Web use we all know is motivated by our desire to save time and get what we need quickly.
Some excellent books if you up for the read are “Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug” or his new one “Don’t Make Me Think Revisited”. The book's premise is that a good software program or web site should let users accomplish their intended tasks as easily and directly as possible. These are great books for beginners or an excellent refresher for anyone experienced.