Review Site Analytics
Whether you are using the popular Google Analytics tool or another program to track user activity on your website, analytics allow you to analyze how users complete a task or a series of tasks on your site.
Study your audience:
What are their needs? What path are they taking through your site? What are they searching for? What devices are they using to view your site? Knowing the answers to these questions will help maximize your marketing strategies and provide a richer experience for your end users.
Navigation Functionality is Critical (especially on mobile)
Spending hours on your site’s content architecture is wasted if your visitors can’t navigate your site.
- Carefully plan your site’s navigation structure: Don’t be afraid to perform a card sort on your site – this basic tool can be extremely useful.
- Be mindful of space: How much real estate the site’s navigation uses on a desktop and especially on a mobile device, is critical for usability. Screen size is limited on mobile devices, and it’s important to keep content focused and navigation at the top condensed. There are two options you can take to address navigation on a mobile device:
- Turn the navigation into a drop-down list. By turning your navigation into a drop-down list, or select, you are letting the device handle the presentation of your navigation. All mobile devices handle drop-down lists a little bit differently, but they all account for the proper spacing between items and take advantage of any accessibility settings enabled on the device. Outside of doing nothing, this is the fastest way to make your navigation mobile friendly. However, several browsers don’t allow you to do a large amount of styles to a drop-down list.
- Styles need to be in place so the “tap area” is large enough for those with larger fingers.
- Transitions to any sub-items needs to be considered.
- When a user scrolls through the navigation, verify the content behind the navigation isn’t what actually is getting scrolled.
- We highly recommend adding the word “Menu” next to the “hamburger” icon.
Overall, the toggle menu passes the converse real estate test, is intuitive to the user and works on a wide variety of devices.
Search Engine Optimization
The Texas A&M Webmasters Blog has some great posts regarding SEO.
Be mindful of your users when you are considering which images to place on your site.
- Make sure your images are responsive: Responsive images “respond” favorably to whatever device is being used to view a site. This means scaling appropriately to the device screen or using a server-side solution to perform image swapping.
- Keep in mind device bandwidth: This will ensure the page’s load time is as minimal as possible and also reduces the amount of data used on their device when using their cellular network.
User Research and Peer Comparisons
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at other websites with a similar audience or mission and see what they’re doing well. What works? What doesn’t? Use the good for inspiration and learn from their mistakes.