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Articles & Tutorials

Is Your Site User Friendly?

by Coal Fuller


Summary :

Creating a user-friendly layout is very important when it comes to pleasing your visitors and thus establishing return visitors. This article will go over some of the things that you can take into account when you are looking over your website

Here's a checklist for good usability:

  • Easy to Find Menu or Links
  • Good color contrast between text, backgrounds and links
  • Having a clear link to your main page on each page
  • Having a clear description of what each page is intended for
  • Having "alt" attributes for each image
  • Having "title" attributes for each link

To make sure that your menu is easy to find, most people would recommend that you place it near the top of your webpage on the left side. This is mainly because we read from left to right and so our eyes will start on the left side of the screen. Others would argue that the menu is best placed on the right hand side because of the scroll bar location, but this isn't always the case as most visitors expect it to be on the left side.

Although placement is very important, it's even more important that you choose a good color scheme for your website. If you have a dark blue background, it wouldn't be wise to have a dark blue link or a dark red link as the contrast would be hard to see. Our Website Wizard can help out with the issue of selecting an appropriate color scheme. Try it out by registering for a free website hosting service.

It is always a good thing to have a link to your main page on each of your other pages. This way, when visitors get lost they can start fresh from your main page. Also, this helps as it brings them to the spot that you would like them to bookmark.

Always make sure that you are descriptive with your links. No one wants to click on "Page 2", "page 3", etc without knowing where they go or what will be on those pages. "Contact Us"; "Biography"; and "About This Site" are all good examples of link names.

While we can use our common sense when designing a website that is easy to navigate, it is pretty hard to overlook the fact that visually impaired people visit websites. many times, we will find ourselves using image that don't contain an "alt" attribute. Alt stands for alternate text. You can use the alternate text tag to describe the image for visitors that are using browsers that read out webpages to them. It wouldn't be a good experience if all they heard was "Welcome to [image] website" -- If you're using a logo (or any image at all), then you should have an alt text. Alt can be used like so:

<img src="imagepath/heart.jpg" alt="a small pink heart">

Like the alt tag, it is also important to use the "title" tag for the same reasons; if you are linking the words "To go to the main page, click here", all a browser would read is "[link]". By adding a title attribute, you are giving a description of what the link will do if clicked.

<a href="http://www.bravenet.com" title="Go back to the front page of Bravenet">Click here to go to the home page</a>.

Hopefully these tips will help you to ensure that your website is more user-friendly.