19 February 2016

What does ‘user-friendly’ mean today?

Tags:UX

Like ‘surfing the net’ or ‘information superhighway’, the term ‘user-friendly’ seems like it belongs in the past. Although the last five years have seen businesses wise up to the power of user experience (UX), knowing how to define user-friendliness is more important than ever. But how do we understand user-friendly in a world in which technology unfolds at such a rapid-fire pace? Here are three qualities that double as hallmarks of user-friendliness today.

Uncluttered interface

Although it’s dangerous to confuse the terms ‘user-friendly’ with ‘simple’, it’s true that an uncluttered interface plays a starring role when you’re putting your users first. This can take the form of an elegant layout, scrollable menus, and icons and toolbars that are visually striking and easy to understand.

Functional across multiple devices

A decade ago, embracing user-friendliness meant building the type of website that was designed for a laptop or for spending long hours looking at a screen. But the rise of smartphones and tablets has created an imperative for websites to be functional on multiple devices. These days, a user-friendly website can feature crisp graphics and visuals when viewed on a desktop but load quickly and employ simple navigation when a user is browsing on a smartphone on the go. Sites also need to cater to tablet users who use touch navigation instead of a mouse.

Seamless site navigation

A user-friendly website makes it as easy and as intuitive as possible to navigate through a site. This involves:

  • A logical layout
  • Concise, readable language
  • Toolbars, buttons, and menus that set the stage for a user journey that is seamless and pain-free.

It’s important to remember that a user-friendly website revolves around the needs of the consumer rather than the business itself.

The term ‘user-friendly’ might seem outdated, but it has a powerful impact on conversion, customer relationships, and sales. What are some qualities that reflect ‘user-friendliness’ to you?

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