When it comes to creating a WordPress site, you must have your customers in mind. There’s a lot in creating the site, so you can often find it’s a long process to get to the finish line. That’s if it’s done properly and that your site covers everything your audience needs.
A site that’s user friendly is certainly essential because it can help retain customers on the site. A website that keeps crashing has broken links, and doesn’t function properly will only mean that your site loses out. With that being said, here are some tips to ensure your WordPress site is user friendly.
Consider Your Font & Layout
Site preferences are necessary to cover in detail because you want features that you want on the website to match a client’s branding, for example. Font choices are critical because it’s obvious that your website’s content needs to be readable to be well received.
There are plenty of examples online right now where the font is too small or too complex in its style that it makes it impossible to make out the words. Think about the layout of the content and where everything is positioned too.
Layout Has to Be Functional
When it comes to the design, you want the layout to be functional for those users who are navigating the site. Ensuring everything is placed correctly, rather than packed in too tightly, is essential; otherwise, it will negatively impact the user.
Another site preference can come down to white space. Less is more when it comes to your WordPress site, so don’t overcomplicate it. A healthy amount of white space can give your users some breathing room when they’re viewing a piece of text or scrolling through images.
Making your content scannable and digestible is what you want to achieve to make it user-friendly.
Know Who The Audience Are
Whether you’re building a site for a client or doing it for your own business, it’s necessary to know who your users will be. By knowing this information, you’re going to have a much better advantage in the design and adapting the user-friendly features of the site.
For example, if you have a younger generation of users, you’ll probably want to try and make the font a little bigger. Perhaps you may want to include more visuals or space for more visuals because many Gen Z prefers it. In contrast, you might want more simplicity with older users, depending on the demographic.
It might be worth taking inspiration from your competitors or websites that the client is competing with. This will give you more indication of what layout and functionality the users will enjoy the most when coming to your site.
Utilize The Right Tools & Software
Before any new features to your website goes live, it’s a good idea to use remote UX testing tools to see if it works effectively or not. The last thing you want is to implement it on the site without testing and it going wrong for your users. First impressions count, and if it’s a somewhat complex feature, you want to do a few dry runs first before going live.
Many plugins can be used via WordPress to improve your site’s functionality when it comes to things like broken links and slow-loading web pages. For example, broken link checkers can help pull out those links that are timing out or just going to a 404 page.
Some plugins will automatically compress images to help reduce their contribution to web page loading times. Please take advantage of these plugins, as many of them will be free or have free versions that may be of use. If not, the premium options are also worth the investment.
Consider The Navigation
To achieve a user-friendly site, your users need to locate and navigate the site’s entirety easily. They may have landed on the page you hoped they would or could have entered from a different page.
Think about how you handle your navigation menus, whether that’s the length of your drop-down menu and how clearly it’s displayed. You don’t want to have a menu that’s hard to find. Although it’s good to get creative and design something unique, you don’t want your users chasing their tails in frustration.
Typically with a navigation menu, you’d have it displayed along the top in a banner-like style or a drop-down style on the top-hand corner. A search bar is also good for those who quickly want to find something without having to click too many buttons to do it. If you can, place one at the top and perhaps on the site’s sidebar.
Your website should also have a sitemap. It makes the site itself easier to read by search engines, which helps your site rank higher. Whilst it’s not directly related to user experience, it will enable you to gain more users to the site.
Optimize for Speed
Improving the speed of your website has already been mentioned, but it can definitely be a contributing factor to how long your user stays on the site. A caching plugin can be useful to have, and there’s the W3 Total Cache that might prove useful when it comes to a WordPress site.
Ideally, your load time should be 1-2 seconds for mobile devices and 3-4 for desktop computers. If it’s taking over that amount of time, it increases users’ number that will click off. It’s worth noting that most users will opt for their mobile device, so try to pin your focus on improving speeds for this.
We’re a generation of impatient individuals when it comes to technology, and if something doesn’t load fast enough, we lose interest. Keep an eye on your site’s loading speed, as this may regularly be thrown off with the addition of certain features or media.
And Remember – Make Sure It’s GDPR Compliant
Hopefully, this has given you enough awareness and knowledge of making your site a lot more user-friendly. One last thing to note is that your WordPress site should be GDPR compliant. Part of building a user-friendly site is that you are responsibly using your customer’s data. You can find more on how to implement this by taking a look at Osano’s GDPR guide.
These tips that have been outlined are the best practices that are standard when it comes to any WordPress site. Building a site and maintaining its user-friendliness can be a routine to keep up with. The beauty of WordPress is that it can help make it easier to achieve a user-friendly site due to its qualities and the ability to add plugins.
Being able to offer up a consistently high-performing site is only going to benefit you or your client further. It helps incentivize sales but also engagement on the site itself. Make sure you’re implementing these tips within your WordPress site right now!