Web design that provides a positive user experience means visitors are more likely to return to, and refer others to, your firm’s website. You want a website that people enjoy using and that is easy to navigate. In this article, we look at three aspects of web design that can help improve user experience: page headers, navigation and hyperlinking.
The page header is one simple way to help orientate users when they arrive on your website. It needs to be consistent and appear at the top of each webpage. A well-designed page header lets visitors know whose website they are on and generally what the website is about.
Ideally, your page header should include your firm name, logo and tag line. The key information you need to include is what type of legal services your firm provides and where you provide them. Putting this information in your page header helps users to quickly identify if they are in the right place.
Not all visitors will enter your website from the homepage, so it’s also a good idea to link your page header to your homepage. This means that regardless of where users are in your website, or which page they arrive on first, it’s easy to get back to the homepage.
To create a positive user experience when it comes to navigating your website, you need an easy-to-use menu, a search bar and a site map.
There are two main options with menus. One is a horizontal bar under the page header. The other is a vertical list on the left-hand side of the screen. Basically, if you have more than five or six menu items, you’re better off with the vertical list. Although keep in mind that some items can be grouped together in sub-menus.
If your visitors aren’t sure where to look for the information they want, they might just want to search. The standard location for a search bar is the top right-hand corner of the screen. Make sure the search bar is clearly marked, using the word ‘search’, a magnifying glass icon, or both.
It’s also good to have a site map as an alternative navigation option. This can be particularly useful for people who have difficulty using navigation menus. It also helps to enhance the overall accessibility of your website, reinforcing a positive user experience.
To ensure a positive user experience with hyperlinks, the most important thing is to make sure they work. Hyperlinks can link to your own content, for example a related page on your website, or to an external website. Regardless of what they link to, always check that your hyperlinks go where you want them to.
You should also check them from time to time in case something has changed. If the web address of the page you’ve linked to has changed or the content is different, it might be time to remove or update your hyperlink. Used well, hyperlinks can improve user experience and help visitors find related information. Hyperlinks can even boost your search engine ranking.
Better web design, better user experience
Better web design means better user experience. So make sure all your webpages have page headers. Provide user-friendly navigation options. Make sure your hyperlinks work.
By using these three simple web design tips, your law firm can have a website that provides a better user experience to your visitors. And a better user experience mean visitors are more likely to return, and more likely to recommend your firm’s website to others.
About the author
Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.
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