There can be no doubt that an effective website is a business’ most important marketing tool these days. But what, exactly, makes a website effective — and how do you choose from all the web development firms that claim they can make you one? Many businesses make one big mistake when looking at web development firms: They focus too much on the graphic elements of web design. Yes, of course, professional web design companies need to make sites that are attractive. But users care about the functionality of the sites they visit, too, and messing up these aspects of a design can frustrate potential customers and eventually turn them away. Here are the top five usability mistakes even some top designers make that you don’t want on your website:
- Not Having Your NAP on Every Page
NAP stands for name, address and phone number, and there are numerous reasons for you to have it on every page. First of all, it’s crucial for local search engine optimization. But, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar business, it will also help consumers get to you more easily. Your NAP should be somewhere in the header or footer so that users on any device can easily map to your location or call you with a single tap.
- Making It Hard to Get to the Home Page
It shouldn’t be unclear how users can navigate back to your home page. Especially since many users will arrive on a different page of your site (having followed a link from a search engine or social media), it’s important they be able to instantly recognize how to find your home page.
- Not Setting Up a Whole-Site Search
It’s honestly not that difficult to set up an internal search for a site; although some companies may elect to write their own code for better results, there are plenty of options out there even for free. So there’s no excuse for not giving your users that functionality.
- Finger-Tap Navigational Errors
This one specifically refers to mobile usability. Your users should never be frustrated by tapping on one thing when they mean to be tapping on another — that means making clickable elements larger (at least 44 pixels square) and spreading them apart.
- Excessive, Difficult-to-Use Contact Forms
Internet users have a lot of options available to them, which means they tend to take the path of least resistance. When your contact or sign-up forms have too many elements, are difficult to navigate via mobile or ask for more information than they really need, many consumers will simply decide it’s not worth jumping through all those hoops.
What are some other usability mistakes you see web development firms making on a regular basis? Share your pet peeves in the comments.