Simplifying a Complex Website
How do you create a website that is full featured while remaining simple? This is a question many companies ask theselves at one point or another. A few simple tips can help you to streamline your site and take it to the next level.
- Limit bells and whistles. Provide your users with features (bells and whistles), but keep them relevant. A feature in this case is a tool or enhancement to an interactive piece of your website. When you provide your users with valuable tools (features) they are more likely to return to your website. On the other hand, it is important to provide your user with a simple website experience. Don't make it overly complicated.
One example of a website tool that often seems overly comlicated to me, if not done right, are mortgage calculators. Many are poorly laid out and difficult to understand, which brings us to the first point of usability: organization.
Your website tools and features should be very easy to use and should not require long drawn out instructions. If you're going to add a shopping cart, make it clear on how to add something or how to check out.
- Organization is key. If you are presenting your user with a large number of input fields you need to organize them in a way they can quickly identify different sections, creating an appropriate flow. How does one achieve this? Start by lining up input fields and labels. From there, separating different sections with colored backgrounds is also helpful in keeping things user-friendly.
- Don't make your user work. Do the work for them. Finally, keep the complexity of the feature in the backend. Replace fields or additional features with programming wherever possible. This will allow the user to focus on the payout of the feature, rather than the process.
Not only are these tips simple and easy to implement, but adding a new feature to your website will not only create a more pleasant experience for your customers, but also make them more likely to remember your site in the future.