A website is often the first thing a person will see for your organization. Visitors want to know what you stand for and what you’re all about with as little work as possible. An attractive user interface along with a smooth user experience is key to maintaining your audience. Whether you’re planning a full website re-design or just a quick refresh, our website development service expert and visual storyteller, Faye Saechao, recommends the following six updates to ensure your users have a great first interaction with your organization.
Update Your Design
Updating your website design to add personality can help attract and maintain visitors AND help your organization build brand recognition and credibility.
- Utilizing graphics like icons or charts.
- Add photographs that reflect your audience and mission.
- Showing off your organization’s personality with colors.
- Breaking up large blocks of text to make it digestible and easy to read.
Make it Mobile-Friendly
As of May 2022, 58.26% of all web traffic came through mobile phones. One of the most important things to keep in mind when updating your website is to make it “mobile-friendly”, which means it is easy to view and use on mobile devices. It should look and navigate just as well as if they were visiting it from a desktop computer.
A mobile-friendly site will also help you rank higher on Google and other search engines. This makes your site easier for new audiences to discover.
You can optimize the mobile version of your site by:
- Fixing any formatting issues such as keeping consistent margins, and making sure images and text are aligned and not overlapping.
- Make sure the menu button to navigate throughout the website is clearly visible at the top.
- Keep the navigation bar “fixed” at the top of the page so that users don’t have to scroll back to the top to find it.
Simplify Your Navigation
Website navigation is when users click and look through the various pages that make up the website. Poor navigation can drive traffic away from your site. Navigation must be designed to allow users to easily navigate from page to page.
If you have too many things or too many pages asking for attention all at once (especially on the menu bar), this can overwhelm your visitors. It can even lead them to leave the website before they even start exploring.
To simplify your navigation, we recommend:
- Choosing 1-2 actions you want users to take when visiting your site (for example, directing them to sign a petition, donate, or simply learn more about your organization). This makes it easier for users to understand where they are going once they land on the page instead of having an overwhelming number of options available at once.
- Condensing your pages as much as possible and keep main pages on the navigation bar to a maximum of 5 pages (this doesn’t include sub-pages).
- Using the homepage as a “summary” of the website. You can do this by creating sections on the homepage that give a preview of each page, with a button directing users to that page if they are interested in learning more.
Make it ADA-Compliant
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) dictates that all websites must meet certain requirements so that they are accessible to all potential users. If your site is not ADA compliant, you risk alienating large portions of your audience and even opening yourself up to lawsuits. In recent years, the number of lawsuits related to ADA non-compliance has grown considerably (15% increase).
To make your website ADA-compliant, we recommend:
- Removing auto-play videos, music, and sounds.
- Minimizing or removing blinking, flashing, or other quick-animated features.
- Make sure there is high contrast between text and background colors so that the text can be read easily by those who have low vision issues or color blindness.
- Switching out any hard-to-read fonts (fonts with letter shapes that are not well-defined or regular in shape and size) for accessible fonts (such as Calibri and Helvetica) and increasing text size (minimum 14pt) so that it is easy for everyone to see and read clearly.
For more accessibility tips, check out Simple Ways to Build an ADA-Compliant Website
Ensure Consistent Branding & Style
Brand consistency is essential. Your brand identity should be the same throughout your website —including the visual style, tone, and navigational structure.
To ensure brand and style consistency throughout your website:
- Pick a maximum of 3 font types, one for headers and 1-2 for body text, and use them consistently throughout the website. Also, using fonts in different sizes helps viewers indicate what is heading/sub-heading text (larger font 16-21pt) and what is body text (smaller font 14-16pt).
- Determining your organization’s brand colors (4-5 at most) and only using those colors consistently throughout the website.
Diversify Your Stock Photos
Stock photos are a quick and easy way to fill up space on your site, but selecting only photos of straight, able-bodied, clean-cut white people is not inclusive or representative of our diverse society AND your diverse audiences. You’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with your visitors. We recommend featuring images of real people doing real things that relate directly back to your organization’s mission.
Consider photography that:
- Shows candid shots of people in action instead of people posing and smiling at the camera.
- Representing a wide range of ethnicities and abilities.
- Considering same-sex parents also when showcasing photos of families.
Not all stock photos are bad – just be sure you’re using stock photos that are relevant to and reflective of your audience.
Custom Branding, Design, and Website Development Services
If you’re struggling to improve the user experience of your organization’s website, consider contacting FCP— we are a full service website design agency that offers services such as branding, graphic design, message development, digital and social media services, and more! Contact us today to get started.