It’s always good practice to put yourself into the shoes of your potential users. If the average person can’t navigate your site, your opportunities to educate and connect with readers become drastically limited.
Here are some simple user-oriented principles to follow when preparing your site:
Avoid relying on specialized terminology, code names, or abbreviations that might make sense to you, but won’t necessarily mean anything to readers without the same level of expertise.
If you’re using this terminology in the interest of saving time or space, try at least providing a brief explanation of each term before diving into things. This ensures that your content remains accessible across all levels of user familiarity with your topic.
To create easily readable content, consider the following guidelines:
- Use headings to organize content
- Evenly space paragraphs
- Avoid dense blocks of text
If you’re pasting in text from another source, the formatting might not always carry over properly. Double check your page in preview mode before publishing to make sure it’s styled in a way you like.
Don’t forget that anyone downloading files that you’ve uploaded to your site will be able to see what you’ve named them. File names like “paper draft final.pdf” are fine for your own use, but your users will want a more precise name.
Users want to know when they’re about to activate their email client. By avoiding unclear labels like “Sample Name”, you give them a sign about what to expect
The correct way of hyperlinking an email is “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” with your desired email address after the “mailto:”. Any other formatting will create a broken link.
Be sure to secure permission for any external content (AKA anything you didn’t create) hosted on your site.
If it’s something you’d ask permission to print in a book or article, you should be going through the same process for your website.
By implementing the practices above, you’ll be well on your way to adopting a consistent “users first” mentality that will make your site welcoming to visitors from all walks of life.