Getting people to visit your website is only half the battle. Once they’re there, your next challenge is to make them stay long enough to explore its contents. So, how exactly do you do this? Well, you could start by making it look great because nobody wants to use a dated, poorly designed website. But there’s more to websites than just looks. They also have to be easy to use. The key is to make yours as stunning as possible without sacrificing functionality.
So, how do you know if your website is functional? Well, for starters, you should be able to answer all the following questions with a “yes”:
1. Does my website load fast enough?
No matter how awesome your website is, if it takes ages to load, then nobody would use it. Keep in mind that people online tend to be impatient, especially because it’s super easy to hop from one page to the next. Besides, unless what you have to offer is one-of-a-kind, then there’s just no way people would wait in line to see it.
2. Is my website easy to navigate?
Remember when we said that people online are impatient? Well, that applies here too. If you make it too difficult for them to find what they need, then they’ll look someplace else.
You can avoid this by first making sure that all your navigation links are in one place. Of course, they need to be clearly labeled as well, so the user knows where each button leads. Finally, make it clear where exactly your user is by highlighting active links, especially if your website displays multiple search results pages.
3. Have I disabled all auto-play media on my website?
It’s almost always a good idea to let the user take control of playing all forms of media on your site. Keep in mind that not all your visitors will be accessing from home (or have great internet speeds). Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine if you were secretly browsing the web at work and a page suddenly blasts some cheesy pop song for everyone else to hear. Yup, that’s not cool at all.
But if, for some reason, you must automatically play something on your website, then at least give the user the option to stop it anytime.
4. Is the text on my website easy to read?
Please be kind to your users and stick to sensible color combinations, especially when it comes to text. Some people find colored text on a black background extremely hard on the eyes, for example. Remember that it doesn’t matter how great your content is if your user has to endure pain to access it.
5. Do I have any idea what my users think of my website?
At the end of the day, the only real way to check if your site is functional is to get your user base to try it out because different users typically want different things.
Conduct a pre-launch test so you can tweak your website to better cater to the needs of your users before you go live, and then continue gathering user feedback after your website launches because it’s almost sure that the needs of your users will change over time.
What’s the most functional website you’ve ever come across? Share it with us in the comments!