As discussed in Is It Time To Redesign Your Website – Part One, compelling first
impressions are critical to ensuring successful visitor engagement. Once a visitor has
landed on your page and decided not to bounce, the user experience must be positive,
productive, and profitable.
You can take some quick and basic steps when reviewing your website to determine if
you are providing a user-friendly experience. Very simply, put yourself in your visitors’
shoes. If you have trouble getting to where you want to go, find content confusing or
misleading, or experience sluggish load times, then chances are your visitors are
experiencing the same thing.
After taking the following steps and answering the specific questions, reread Time to
Redesign your Website Part One. You will then be ready to make an informed and
honest appraisal of the status of your current website.
1. Click through your site and review each page to ensure that both the navigation
and content are clear and relevant.
- Does your organization’s site map achieve the user’s goals?
- Is the navigation simple, intuitive, and direct?
- Do your pages feature obvious differences in headlines and sub-heads? Is your
content arranged using different font styles and contrasting colors to indicate
varying degrees of importance?
- Are you optimizing white space? White space creates a more organized and
inviting backdrop allowing the reader to process information faster and easier.
- Are there direct and functional Calls to Action? (CTAs)
- Is your content still accurate? Outdated content damages your credibility.
- Are the photos and images still appropriate?
- Are pages easily scannable?
- Is the information presented in short, clear sentences?
2. Check for broken links.
If a link directs visitors to a 404 page or an incorrect destination, visitors will be
frustrated. Broken links reflect poorly on your credibility – indicating a lack of quality
control and attention to detail. Visitors will likely spend less time on your site, increasing
your bounce rate. (Search engine algorithms may assume that’s because your site isn’t
providing visitors with quality content or information resulting in a lower
3. Get up to speed.
If your pages take more than 3 seconds to load, then you are in trouble. According to
industry experts, visitors who experience slow loading speeds likely won’t come back to
your website. What may have seemed like rocket speed just a few years ago, is currently
no longer expected or acceptable.
Over the course of time, you may have added images or plug-ins that have slowed
down your loading times. Maybe your coding has not kept pace with your added
features and functions, leading to reduced functionality.
4. Review your level of ADA Compliance.
The Americans with Disability Act includes specific levels of digital accessibility. While
not yet mandatory in many states, it is only a matter of time before universal
conformance with WCAG (Website Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards
becomes the norm. In the meantime, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to
being vulnerable to potential lawsuits – and it just makes good sense to provide a
website that is accessible to everyone.
To check your website’s level of current ADA compliance, take the time to research
articles on WCAG technical conformance. You will discover that there are a number of
options available including manual assessments, free plug-ins and professional services.
Educate yourself about WCAG and choose the option that is best for you.
The fundamental elements identified in Part One and Part Two of this series are only
the tip of the iceberg. You may need to dive deeper into the design of your current
website. For example, should you apply temporary band-aids by just fixing broken links
and updating content, or consider an in-depth, comprehensive review of your entire
site, including the more technical, back-end issues instrumental to the overall
performance, safety, and security of your website?
Websites should be dynamic documents that grow and change as your business
evolves. An underperforming and outdated website can negatively impact your
reputation, your brand, and your profitability. Is it time for a redesign?
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