Make your website convenient so that website visitors feel comfortable, quickly find the information they need, and turn visitors into customers. This will help a friendly interface, which simplifies interaction with the website for the user.
What is a friendly interface?
The website’s friendly interface (or usability) shows how easy and convenient it is for an ordinary person to use a web resource. The primary indicator of a good interface is ergonomics. It means that the less action a person takes to achieve their goal, the more user-friendly the interface.
On a website with a friendly interface, nothing distracts the user, does not interfere with him, does not confuse, and does not repel.
The purpose of a friendly interface
The friendly interface aims to maintain a balance between ease of use for the visitor and the benefit that the owner expects. In other words, that the visitor was comfortable on the website, but that he carried out the necessary actions: register, buy goods, follow the link, etc.
Basic principles of a friendly interface
The website interface design must comply with the five principles that will capture the user’s attention, hold him, and encourage him to take action without irritating him.
For the interface to be convenient, it must be clear from the first seconds: where to click to see the price of services, where the button to buy goods, how to register or log in with your data. If a person does not understand this immediately, he will press random buttons and will most likely go to another place with a more precise structure.
To avoid this, the design should be logical: with a clear hierarchy, the usual arrangement of elements, convenient navigation buttons. For example, in online stores, the cart is always located at the top right of the page. If you remove it elsewhere, the percentage of discarded baskets will likely increase by a few points.
Another example is the contact page. Everyone accustom to the fact that this section is displayed last in the menu. If you move it to another position, some users will not find it and leave the website without contacting you due to inattention or haste.
In the overall design, you can experiment with standing out from the competition. But as for the interface, to make it friendly, it is better to follow the established rules.
Analyze your audience and determine which websites they use most often: social networks, search engines. Focus on the interface of these resources when developing your design — no need to copy thoughtlessly. Just make the visitors’ associations work.
Visual example – icons and buttons. Everyone accustom to the fact that the window with personal messages or feedback form opens with an icon in the form of an “envelope”. Suppose you add such a visual element to the interface design but add another function (for example, opening the page with delivery terms). It will confuse the person and irritate them because he expects a different result from clicking on the icon.
The same principle applies to buttons. If the user accustoms to the fact that the button should be three-dimensional and contrasting, and you have made it faded and not contrasting to please the design, he may not even understand it is clickable.
Predictability is also vital for page content. The price list should be in the “Price” section, not in the “examples of works”, and the company’s news – in the “News” section, not on the main one.
Do not clutter the interface design with unnecessary elements: a few buttons on one page, dozens of sections, a complex menu. In a friendly interface design, the simpler the better.
The design should be user-oriented. If you have a lot of information that can not be deleted or shortened, choose from it only the most important and put on the main page, hide the rest in the thematic sections. When a user visits a website, he does not want tons of information to fall on him at once. He wants to see why he came without being distracted by unnecessary elements.
- Load speed
Even the most straightforward, user-friendly, and eye-pleasing interface design is useless if the pages take too long to load. The user will not wait until the desired section of the website is opened or the animation with necessary information is loaded and will go to another place. Low load speeds, by the way, can be the result of element overload, but not always.
We discussed this topic in more detail in the article “How to make your mobile website faster“.
Tolerance of mistakes
It is clear that at the ideal design of the interface, errors should not arise. However, if you look at real situations, a small percentage of visitors will always be confused and click “out there”. In this case, it is crucial to make sure that they are not afraid of mistakes.
Imagine the situation. You went to an online store, chose a product, and decided to buy it. Fill in the long form of the order: your contacts, delivery address, bank card number. But in the field for the phone, write your number without the prefix “+38”. Then click “Order,” and … all data delete, and you get an error message. The website requires you to refill, and you just close it and go to the nearest retail store, albeit more expensive.
To avoid this, user error scenarios must be thought out in a user-friendly interface. This will help the buttons to cancel changes and return to the previous topic, notifications about the consequences of closing the page. In general, any, even erroneous, the action of the visitor should not be irreversible.
All this must be taken into account by the developer, and therefore a competent online store can not be inexpensive. It has already been write here.
Tips on how to make the interface friendly and the design user-friendly
If the principles described above seem too abstract and theoretical, let’s move on to practice.
Do not give much freedom of choice
Yes, the visitor should feel accessible on the website. He does not like when something imposes. But freedom is good as long as it does not lead to confusion and doubt. If you have an online store and recommend other similar products in the product cards, limit their number. You do not need to show all possible options. Select only the most appropriate.
For example, on the smartphone description page, recommend a specific case and specific headphones, rather than abstract categories of related products.
Prove that the website is safe
Users are increasingly concerned about the confidentiality of personal data. They are afraid that their photos, passwords, phone numbers, preference stories will be shared, and fraudsters will take advantage of this.
To make people trust you, prove and show them that you are responsible for protecting your customers’ data. Use the HTTPS protocol, securely follow logins and passwords, tell us about security methods in the agreement.
Request permission to send letters and SMS to process personal data.
Filling in the fields should be easy
If you have a form to fill out on the website – registration, purchase, subscription to the newsletter, etc. – make it simple. Otherwise, the person simply will not want to fill it.
To make the form comfortable, help the person fill it out.
- Prompt. A window with a calendar will be suitable for the date of birth, for other information – a list (choice of city, gender, etc.) if the data to fill in is not unique (i.e., not e-mail, phone number, name), tell the visitor how to fill it in using the list not to enter everything manually.
- Check for correctness immediately. Above we described a situation in which the visitor made a mistake when filling out the form, and he lost all the data that he managed to enter. To prevent this from happening, do an automatic check next to each field. If the phone-specific in the wrong format, let it be visible immediately, not when the visitor clicks “done”.
One block with text on the page
Only on information portals and in online media, the variant when the main article display on one page, and on the sides there are blocks with news or the summary of other materials is admissible. Even in this situation, such a decision seems controversial. It is better to design the interface on other websites so that additional blocks do not shade the primary information on the page. The user’s attention is a valuable resource, and it is not so impractical to scatter it.
It looks like something
Do not divide the website’s structure into many similar sections. It is better to combine them. For example, in the “Contacts” section, you can add a map, a feedback form, and a work schedule.
If the page’s content does not fit on one screen, and you need to scroll it down, add a call to action at the beginning of the text and at the end. Some users are ready to click on the button immediately. Customers need to know the details to make a decision. In both cases, the person must see before his eyes the button of the target action.
Buttons should stand out against the background of text and illustrations. This is a crucial element that is important to both you and the user. Make them more noticeable, choose the most contrasting combination, darken the background.
To avoid losing potential customers and make the design-friendly, make the website work on all devices and in all browsers. For smartphones and tablets, a mobile version or adaptive design is suitable. Read more about the pros and cons of each option here. Make sure all buttons, links, and illustrations are displayed correctly on any screen size.
If you have a lot of information on the website – articles, products, documents – add a search function and make it convenient. It is desirable that the search algorithm can recognize different forms of words (cases, gender, number) and prioritize the results.
Friendly interface design will help earn the trust and loyalty of users, increase conversion and depth in browsing the website. The main principle of the friendly interface is a balance between convenience for the user and benefit for the website owner.