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50 Tips To A User Friendly Website | Designing Interactive

September 29, 2011

An Apple MacBook in an aluminium casing.

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50 Tips To A User Friendly Website

Posted by: Josh Walsh in Design.

Here is a list of 50 things that I keep in mind on every website that I build. Some of these are secrets I have acquired from the best designers in the world, and some of them are standard every day practices. Either way, these tips will improve your visitors experience on your website.

  1. Clicking on the logo should take you to the home page;
  2. Your logo/site title should be positioned in the top left of the page;
  3. Duplicate your main navigational links in the page footer with links to additional, but less prominent pages;
  4. Keep your navigation positioning consistent from page to page;
  5. Don’t open links in a new tab/window, except PDF’s and embedded documents;
  6. Highlight your current location in your navigation bar;
  7. Use reasonable sized fonts (12px or larger);
  8. Make sure font sizes are flexible (Use em’s or %, not px);
  9. Sans-serif fonts are easier to read at small sizes;
  10. Serif fonts are easier to read at large sizes;
  11. Center your layout on the screen;
  12. Use a page width appropriate for your audience (Older people use lower resolutions, tech saavy people use higher resolutions);
  13. Use whitespace to logically group related items on the page;
  14. Use font sizes, colors and styles to prioritize content;
  15. Use 1.4 or 1.5em line height;
  16. Use line lengths of 45 – 60 characters, the same as a paperback book;
  17. Link to related content within the context of your page content;
  18. Make sure your links change color/style when visited;
  19. Always underline links, except some navigational cases;
  20. Do not make important parts of the website look like an advertisement;
  21. Use pull quotes to highlight important content in a lengthy article;
  22. Text should be concise and scannable;
  23. Use dark gray text instead of black text on a white background;
  24. Break long pages into multiple pages;
  25. Do not use all uppercase words, word shape helps word recognition;
  26. Divide text into sections and use sub headlines to make content more easily scanned;
  27. Keep a consistent layout, colors and typography throughout the whole site;
  28. Print friendly automatically with print stylesheets;
  29. Use buttons to submit forms (Some images which look like buttons are ok);
  30. Don’t disguise or over-style inputs;
  31. Don’t redesign standard UI elements, like scrollbars (this means you, flash people!);
  32. Use breadcrumb navigation for hierarchical content;
  33. Search results page should reiterate the phrase you searched for;
  34. Do call your homepage “home” – not “welcome,” “front page,” “your company name” or anything else;
  35. Use short and easy to read URL’s;
  36. Give links to other content on your site related to their content.
  37. Optimize images for fast downloading;
  38. Publish new content regularly, don’t “set it and forget it;”
  39. Test in all browsers and OS’s, and different versions – IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome;
  40. Listen to your users and let them dictate changes (user centered design);
  41. Avoid using jargon in page copy unless absolutely necessary;
  42. Keep forms short, only ask for what you absolutely need;
  43. Encourage conversation around your content.  Comments, forums, etc…;
  44. Include a text only sitemap;
  45. Use the title attribute on links to add more context;
  46. Never use “click here” as the text on a link;
  47. Write in a inverted pyramid style;
  48. Create friendly 404 pages which help people find content;
  49. Create incentive to come back later;
  50. Connect information via hyperlinks, don’t force navigational channels;

via 50 Tips To A User Friendly Website | Designing Interactive.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2011 4:00 pm

    Good blog post, what do you think about that telsa power invention though?

  2. October 23, 2011 3:08 am

    I just wanted to let you and others know that I have personally created solar panels before and these video guides are really top-notch. I wish I had these when I first started. Really thorough and in-depth stuff. Definitely a smarter alternative than hiring some company to install these.. since you will probably save thousands doing it yourself. It’s not that hard!!

  3. October 24, 2011 1:08 am

    Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

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