How to create a user-friendly website for a business


The importance of a user-friendly business website cannot be understated. That may seem an obvious point to make. Still, many websites struggle with designs that are not user-friendly.

We tell children to never judge a book by its cover. That is terrible advice. Book covers exist to help us judge whether to read the book. Similarly, a website aids users when judging a business.

For this reason, a user-friendly website is essential. Ensuring a great user experience can only benefit a business. 

In this article, I will discuss what 'user-friendly' means and how to make a website user-friendly. With that in mind, we will start by defining what we mean by 'user-friendly'.

What does 'user-friendly' mean?

A user-friendly website puts the user's experience first. It makes navigating and interacting with the site simple. It does not mean a website that uses the latest and greatest technology. Nor does it have anything to do with the swankiness of its design. It is simply a website that makes life easy for its users.

Now, we have our definition. Let's examine the features of a user-friendly website.

The features of a user-friendly business website

User-friendliness is an umbrella term that covers several smaller topics. How well a website performs in these sub-topics adds up to its user-friendliness. So, what are these topics?

Clear and simple navigation

In UX, there is a principle known as Jakob's Law. This principle states that users expect digital products, like websites and apps, to function the same way.

Conventional design patterns exist in websites to make them easy for people to use. Such a design convention might be a clickable logo in the navigation bar that links to the home page or a hamburger icon (three stacked horizontal lines) to open a hidden menu.

These conventions help users navigate a website. They function similarly to road signs. Road signs are similar, if not the same, everywhere. They are like this so drivers understand how to use the road regardless of what language they speak. Similarly, web design conventions help users understand how to use a website.

As of 2023, 54.67% of global web traffic comes from mobile devices. That implies a website not built for mobile devices may lose over half its potential users.

Two main factors that dictate how well a website functions on mobile devices. These are responsive design and performance. Let's go deeper on what those mean.

A responsive web design adapts to any screen size. Phone screens, tablet screens, laptop screens, desktop screens, TV screens, and even watch screens display websites. A responsive design must adapt to each of them.

Performance and Page-load Speed

A website optimised for mobile devices must perform as well on mobile data connections as wi-fi. While mobile data is much faster and more reliable than ever before, a user-friendly website should still account for slower, less stable connections.

Every web page is a file that a device has to download. The download size includes all the website code and the media files embedded in the page.

Generally speaking, the more a device has to download, the less performant it is. A larger download size takes longer and eats into a user's mobile data allowance.

A user-friendly website must consider its user's time and money. To learn more about improving website performance, read my article.

Consistent design

Design conventions do not solely exist across all websites. They exist within each individual website as well. 

Most businesses have a brand identity. This identity includes things like logos, fonts, colours and imagery.

Keeping to these brand conventions throughout a website makes it feel more consistent and helps build connection and trust. A consistent brand is more likely to leave a positive impression on a customer.

Accessible, readable and relevant content

Website content plays a huge role in user-friendliness. Often, users visit a website to find information about a business. A user-friendly website always has easy-to-find, up-to-date, and relevant information.

When users find the information they need, having it easy to understand is vital. Consider this blog. I break the information down into various sections and subsections. These sections make the page easier to scan and find specific information. 

This tactic comes from Miller's Law. This UX principle states a human brain can only process a small amount of information in one go. Thus, breaking information into smaller pieces makes it easier for users to read and digest.

Additionally, we must remember that some users navigate websites differently. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking users only use a mouse and monitor to browse the internet. In reality, many users navigate websites in other ways. A user-friendly website accounts for such users and follows accessibility best practices to cater for them. For more information about this, read my primer on web accessibility.

Effective call-to-actions (CTAs)

A user-friendly site should make things as easy for a user as possible. We want there to be as little guesswork as possible. For that reason, any call to action must be clear and explicit.

Here comes another UX principle, Hick's Law. This principle states that a smaller number of choices reduces confusion and helps a user make quicker decisions.

Consider Google's home page. The primary page function is for the user to search the internet. As such, this is made the most obvious function on the page. Other options are out of the way in the footer. This design choice avoids a cluttered layout and cluttered user thinking.

We can always become more user-friendly

A user-friendly website continuously evolves. There are always new ways to improve user and customer experience. Engaging with them and learning about their problems will help us solve them.

We can engage with users both directly and indirectly. We can directly engage with users through surveys and feedback forms. We can also monitor user behaviour with analytics tools.

Both methods provide valuable data that present opportunities to improve the user experience.

Conclusion: A user-friendly website reflects a customer-friendly business

Every business values customer satisfaction. Happy customers become loyal customers. Similarly, happy users become loyal users.

Making the effort to create a user-friendly website presents to users a business that cares about them and makes the effort to improve their lives. When users have a better website experience, they are more likely to use it again. A user-friendly website will get repeat visits and generate more prospects and customers.