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Understanding how users will use your website, locate the content they seek, and get there has always been a challenge, and over the last few years this consideration has become even more important due to the vast increase in mobile usage.
This means we have to cater to a varied array of screen dimensions rather than a fixed value such as 960px, which was once more common.
These can contribute positively or negatively to your website. A few of these are:
• Responsive Design.
As mentioned above, we now need to cater to a large range of devices. A responsive website can cater to your mobile, tablet and even laptop traffic as it re-sizes and re-shuffles content according to your screen size, removing the need for ‘pinch and zoom’. If a user cannot correctly view or use your website then you could lose a significant amount of your potential traffic and business
• An app, advert or redirect popup page.
These aren’t commonly found on desktop websites anymore but an increase on responsive sites has been seen due to pop up ads or app download requests. Don’t get me wrong, apps can be very beneficial but there is a time and a place for them and if your site actually caters to mobile traffic, it doesn’t show much confidence in your responsive design if your users are met with these requests first.
• Content arrangement.
The way in which you prioritise your content above the page fold can significantly increase your users’ experience and traffic. All of your important information should be easy to find and as near to the start of the page as possible. This will not only help your users find the information they are searching for but also help Google and other search engines when they are crawling your site
• Page Speed.
There are many factors that can effect the speed of your website from the size/compression of your images to leveraging browsing caching and even your server’s response time. Whilst the page load time of your website is important for both Desktop and Mobile users, it is worth considering further options if your site is responsive. Mobile users for example are very unlikely to stay on your site if they have to download large images over a 3G or even a 2G connection.
• User Experience.
How does your user feel when they are using your website? User experience is an interesting but sometimes hard aspect of website design to understand. All of the examples above will contribute to how a user feels when using your website, however, even things such as human interaction and the location of navigation links can play a large part on user experience and how they generally take to your website.
Each of the examples above can significantly affect your users, which in turn affects your Search Engine Optimisation, especially your bounce rate. If a user cannot navigate your website or locate the information they are searching for then you could end up with a high bounce rate and a low average session duration. Whilst this is just a short example of how certain aspects of a website can effect a users frontend usability it is certainly a good place to start.