If your website can’t meet your target user’s expectations, it won’t be able to meet your goals as a business either. Your website should be aimed at the user’s needs and designed with a clear context and user journey in mind. Yet, in 2018 there are still a lot of websites that are incredibly difficult to use.
The reasons for that can vary but the factors damage usability the most include:
- Website Not Focused on the User
- Weak Content
- Slow Loading Website
- Baffling User Experience
- Needless Complexity
- No Calls-To-Action
The above factors can result in a restricted user experience and in a perceived incompetence for your brand. In order to present an effective UX, you need to implement user-centric web design and adjust your web usability accordingly. To make an enduring first impression on your target customers with your Homepage, you have to provide a flawless online experience.
This is where usability steps in. Usability is one of the most important aspects of a web design. Good usability helps your web visitors easily digest the information you have presented them. When it comes to your Homepage, the key is to make your design intuitive for users.
Your homepage has the power to attract and retain potential customers. The way you design the homepage can determine the extent of the user’s visit and define the overall usability of your website.
In this post, we are going to discuss 7 guidelines for improving the usability of your homepage. These tips will equip you with some useful ideas that you can implement into your Homepage design.
1. Include a Tag Line
Writing a memorable tagline can be one of the most constructive things you can do for your homepage usability. This is your slogan and the most captivating message that your target customers will read as soon as they land on your webpage. Your homepage tagline is vital because when users first land on a website, they scan it and try to understand what the business is all about.
In essence, this is a statement that represents a company’s philosophy, mission, and value to its customers. A meaningful tagline says a lot about a business and also describes your company in a single phrase.
If your homepage doesn’t have a clear and relevant tagline, it will be difficult for your brand to communicate with your target audience and have them learn how they’d benefit from visiting your webpage. A good example of a compelling homepage headline is the DevriX homepage. It has a short but captivating message to their clients.
2. Design a Clear Site Search Box
Just like taglines, site search is also a crucial element that can enhance your homepage usability. When users look for something, they typically look for a search box where they can enter their desired search query.
Users typically expect a straightforward experience when they enter a query and press ‘Enter’ to start the search. How fast a result is returned matters too as well as, the search field design, which is also a big factor that can influence the entire search experience on your homepage.
Designing the Search Box
Primarily, a search box consists of an input field and search button.
Search boxes are one of the elements that are most frequently used by web visitors. For that reason, it is vital to ensure a good search usability.
You should always make the search box visible and recognizable to the user. At the top of the page is always a smart choice when it comes to positioning the search box. It needs to be present, noticeable, but not too obtrusive.
The magnifying-glass icon is another important element of the search box usability. Users generally spot this symbol and immediately associate it with a search section. Make the search icon as simple and as easy to find as possible.
3. Avoid Using Flashy Graphics
If you’re a creative person, you might be tempted to include flashy imagery, graphics or animations on your homepage. Although, it’s best not to exaggerate and confuse your users with a lot of graphics. This will take away from your content, calls to action, and selling points. Literally, avoid doing this on your homepage:
The simpler the design of your homepage, the easier it is for your web visitors to understand the purpose of your business. Animations and graphics that are too complicated can also result in an increased page loading time and your page might not be displayed at all for users that use a slower internet provider.
In a nutshell, too many overwhelming graphics or visuals can hurt your website, less is always more when it comes to usability and designers should stress on this.
4. Make Use of Your Sitemap
To deliver the best possible homepage usability, you need to create a sitemap. A sitemap is a great way of improving the homepage navigation as well as the overall SEO of your website. This is basically a structural representation that outlines the number of pages on your website in a clear and organized way.
To complement your website’s organizational design approach, you need to be careful where you’re going to put the sitemap. Placing it on your homepage is one of the main places where it can be easily accessible to your website visitors. Here, users can comfortably spot the sitemap and go to the link that they need.
5. Clean Layout
We already said that your homepage shouldn’t include too much flashy content, banners, pop-ups, and animations. But, what will you do with the rest of your content?
You need to have a clean layout when you design your homepage and place the content within it. The design and content should answer the following questions:
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- What can visitors do?
The layout of your homepage should inspire trust and convey the value that you offer to customers. You need a well-positioned CTA, a proper amount of whitespace, the right mix of colors, fonts and graphics. Let’s look at some homepage examples for inspiration:
A straightforward layout with a good headline and CTA that promotes safety, a crucial trait for a product that helps you administer your finances.
Simplicity blends in perfectly with DropBox’s branding. Big minimalistic hero image with “Try for free” CTA button. This homepage uses whitespace in a way that enhances their tagline and CTA.
Amazing tagline and awesome non-intrusive cartoon. A bold CTA. And enough information about the product.
Remember that nothing hurts the image of your website more than a disorganized layout, and a website that is hard to navigate. Visitors like to find what they are looking for quickly. Correct use of whitespace with a few images can quickly grab the attention of visitors.
Uniformity in your layout is key. Colors, fonts, and styling on each page should perfectly compliment each other.
6. Create Easily Accessible Homepage Features
Easily accessible features play an important role in maintaining a uniform experience for users. It helps people stick around your website and read or browse through its content. Besides your CTA tagline and the search box, among the most accessible features that you can include on your homepage are:
A Concise Menu
In most cases, people end up on your website because they have been looking for something. Make their job easier by providing them with a clear and concise menu with neatly organized headers and dropdowns.
A Subscription Form
This is a crucial feature of your homepage if you want to generate leads and increase your sales. You’ll form a connection with your audience by keeping in touch via email and being able to pitch them your products and services in a more detailed way.
Social Media Buttons
Having social media buttons on your homepage is definitely a key to success. It allows your visitors to conveniently share your site on their social media accounts.
7. Display Usable Content
Make sure your homepage provides the most relevant content to the readers who are most interested in your brand, products or services. When developing your homepage content, focus on the following:
- Highlight Main Keywords – Visitors scan websites. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that your main homepage keywords attract attention and provide people with what they were looking for when they opened the page.
- Use Flattering Imagery – Before the user notices your CTA, he/she notices the imagery first. You need to use images to visually guide users towards a call-to-action. The imagery should be relevant to the context of your CTA too.
- Less Content, More Linking – On your homepage, every chunk of space matters. This is not your blog, so don’t overreact with sentences. Have a balance and place buttons and links where needed.
To make your homepage more attuned to users behavior and improving its overall user experience can make the difference between acquiring new customers or not. Your web visitors will be more inclined to engage with your company and stay longer on your site.
In other words, improving your homepage usability is the key to crushing your online business goals.