Six Tricks to Make Your Website More Accessible
Making your website easily accessible is crucial in web designing. No matter how awesome the content on your website is, if visitors can't quickly and easily use or navigate through it, they will eventually give up and end up re-googling.
It would be nice to always consider the following tips when designing your website:
1. Make sure to include a clear tagline.
A tagline is a statement or a motto that stands out as a website's philosophy and mission. It is to be the most apparent element on a websites's homepage and it should clearly describe the website in one phrase
Research shows that a website has just eight seconds to capture the visitor's attention. Without a clear tagline, a website would have a hard time keeping visitors long enough to browse the inner pages.
2. Make the content of your website readable
Easy-to-read webpages play a role in maintaining visitors' loyalty, keeping them on your site and reading your content. Internet users don't really read content online, they scan it, looking for titles, emphasized text, lists and images. Following the reverse pyramid technique of putting the most important pieces on top and the least important ones on the bottom serves as a good way to make your website easily digestible. Break text up with images whenever possible, as this also increases readability. There's a reason magazines are constantly breaking up text with images and graphs - it makes reading that 5000-word article more bearable.
3. Place your logo in the top-left, menu to the right or below
Reading usually starts from the upper left of the webpage. Users won't read a webpage content word-for-word, they will extract important paragraphs, bold text, images etc. Place your logo in the top left, and put the menu either to the right of or below it. Make sure the logo serves as a link back to your homepage. The reason for this is that you never know how someone will get to the site -- the homepage is not the only entry page to the site.
4. Make sure to implement site search
Just as with taglines, site search is also an important element on a website. When users are looking for something, they usually look for a text field where they can enter their query term. Include a search button and clearly specify the text "Search" in-form so people will know what that typable bar denotes.
5. Don't Design Misleading UI Controls
By UI (user interface) controls, I mean elements of a webpage, widgets and components that a user interacts with, such as a button, drop-down list, etc. Don't design graphic elements that looks like a button, but aren't. We often see text that is underlined and looks like links, but are not clickable. By not having the action that the users are expecting, they will think that the site is broken. Also make sure that you repeatedly test your UI controls to make sure they work.
6. Stay away from CAPTCHAs
Even the name alone sounds complex enough. The most common form of CAPTCHA -- Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart -- is a text embedded in an image to separate human users from spam bots. The problem with CAPTCHAs is that each method of human verification triggers a complex process in the users' brains (e.g. figuring out the distorted text, adding two numbers, etc). Thereby making them work unnecessarily, which, in turn, makes them grow tired or bored out of your website.
Whilst all these tips are relevant for most traditional websites, all sites and designs are different. Above all make your site easily usable first.