Make your site easy to use
Difficult sites can alienate visitors, causing them to give up. Below are some ways to balance your website:
Usability – How the site flows. Is it easy to find the information someone may be looking for? Are the choices too overwhelming (too many links or points of interest); or are the choices too confusing (information hidden behind other linked pages or titles that are not clear).
“Web usability is the ease of use of a website. Some broad goals of usability are the presentation of information and choices in a clear and concise way, a lack of ambiguity and the placement of important items in appropriate areas.”
Some of the common aspects of Usability are – simplicity, consistency, familiarity, clarity, credibility, relevancy and accessibility.
Accessibility – Can anyone use your website? People with impairments need to be able to use your site just like everyone else. Color contrast, tags, pdf files, all these items have specific requirements which must be met for our websites by law.
“Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.”
- Visual impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness.
- Difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc.
- Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing.
- Photo epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.
- Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, problem-solving and logic skills, etc.
Public schools are required by federal law to comply with website accessibility standards.
Responsive – Assure that your website is viewable on any device whether a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone. Responsive design means that your school website is easy to navigate regardless of the device or browser. It also means that your mobile friendly design needs to be intuitive and easy to navigate and fast loading.
Aesthetics – How your website looks. What is important here is consistency (making sure each element correlates with each other), and having a “natural feel” to the layout.
- A usable, well-organized layout that makes navigation intuitive and smooth.
- Clear, appropriately sized, legible text. A website’s layout should simply make sense. Each element, button, link or application should be in areas users would actually look for them.
- Highly visible, high-resolution images related to your website’s purpose or message.
Content – Does your site have compelling content? Is the content readable? There is a saying in web design: “Content is King”. Make sure your content is clear, concise, written for the web (a topic we will discuss later), and representative of the goals for your website. More isn’t necessarily better. Less isn’t necessarily more. Balance is the key for content.
- Use short paragraphs – four sentences max
- Use short sentences – twelve on average
- Skip unnecessary words
- Avoid jargon and acronyms