Top 6 Key Characteristics of a User-Friendly Website

July 2020
 minute read
making design sketches using colored markers and highlighters

Nowadays, almost every company in the ‘Burgh has a website. But having a website is only part of the battle of attracting new customers + drawing them away from competitors. Some companies forget the small parts that make up a website, such as its color scheme or even just its navigation bar. By failing to consider these aspects of their website, they can accidentally frustrate + alienate new visitors. 

In our latest article, leading Pittsburgh web design agency Responsival explains what separates an average website from an effective, user-friendly one. To make sure your website is creating joy rather than annoyance, make sure it features these 6 key characteristics.  

Leading Pittsburgh Web Design Agency Responsival Examines the Top 6 Characteristics That Make a User-Friendly Website

person typing on keyboard

1. Accessibility for all users

A user-friendly website should be accessible to all users, including people with different visual, auditory, cognitive, or physical disabilities. Many of these people rely on screen readers to help them navigate the web. As you design your website, you will need to place its accessibility as a high priority. By ensuring that your website is user-friendly + ADA compliant, you are ensuring that your website is accessible to anyone on the web. 

To make sure that your website is compatible with the current guidelines for accessibility, follow these best practices.

Alt Text

Alt text functions as a small tool within your HTML code that describes the appearance + function of an image. People with screen readers benefit from using alt text as a method to better understand an image that is placed on a page. That’s why you need to add descriptive + informative alt text to images on your website. Alt text is also helpful for SEO purposes, as it can help search engines properly index your images. 

Audio + Visual Information

You should provide transcripts for any podcasts that are featured on your website. For any videos, you should offer in-sync captioning + audio descriptions of what is occurring. The captions can help people who are hard of hearing comprehend everything that is being presented to them on the screen. People with visual impairments can benefit from audio descriptions to learn what a video is trying to portray. Screen readers also rely on this information to properly convey what is going on in a video to their users. 

2. Captivating content that readers can quickly scan 

ironbridge website page

Most users scan through web pages rather than reading through every word. Because of this, it is critical that you present your information in an understandable format. Make sure you use headings, subheadings, and short paragraphs to break up text + make it easier for readers to scan through pages to get the information that they need. 

Breaking information into concise bullet points can also help you get your message across in an easily-digestible format. For our client, Iron Bridge, we make sure that all of our blog posts are divided into headings and broken up by high-resolution images. 

3. Quick loading speeds

Users today are demanding + impatient. Not only do they want a website to be captivating + informative, but they also want it to load quickly. In fact, half of your online visitors will abandon your website if it takes over three seconds to load. Prolonged website loading times can also harm your search engine ranking. 

To test your website’s loading speed, use a free tool such as Pingdom. This tool will help you test the load time for each of your website pages + identify what particular elements are slowing down their loading speed. 

4. Easy-to-use navigation

responsival navigation bar

Intuitive navigation plays a large role in your website’s usability. You don’t have to add any fancy gadgets + widgets to your menu. In fact, keeping it minimalistic + clutter-free will help make it more user-friendly. Try to keep the pages on your main navigation bar limited to only the primary pages on your website. Proper internal linking + organized page templates can also help users navigate throughout different pages on your website. 

5. Use of an effective color scheme

Every website you come across should have an attractive + cohesive color scheme. For instance, if you are aiming for a stylish + sophisticated look, you might want to use dark muted tones for your website. But if you want to market yourself as a fresh + ambitious start-up, you should aim for a bold, eye-catching color scheme featuring bright accents. This color palette should not only accentuate your company’s branding + public image, but it should also allow users to easily understand your website’s text. 

Heinz Memorial Chapel

Our webpage for Heinz Memorial Chapel demonstrates this simple principle. As you can see, the dark blue text for the navigation bar easily pops out from the white background. The white text across the hero image also contrasts its darker background. 

6. Responsive website layout for mobile browsing

Is your web page mobile-friendly? If not, it should be. During the second quarter of 2020, mobile phone devices accounted for 51.53% of global website traffic

Part of designing a mobile-friendly website is ensuring that it is responsive. This means that all of your content can arrange + adapt itself according to the size of your screen. A responsive website makes it possible for mobile users to access all of the same information as your desk users in an understandable format. 

screenshot of mobile version of responsival website

Not sure whether your website is user-friendly on mobile devices? Test it! We can help you work out any issues you find along the way.

Does your website follow all 6 criteria? If not, don’t worry. Responsival has your back. Contact us today to start building a gorgeous, user-friendly website.


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