Hands on their head in distress is NOT exactly what you’re hoping people will do while visiting your website, right? Below are five signs your website might be overwhelming your website – and what to do about it.
It’s a funny and almost paradoxical thing that as we’re perusing websites in our daily lives, we tend to never notice when a website communicates and functions really, really well.
However, if we’re on a website and it’s overwhelming or confusing us? Most of us do the same thing:
We leave immediately.
So thus, in a hugely simplified pie chart, there are just two types of website user experiences: one in which people find what they’re looking for, and the other in which they become overwhelmed and leave.
Today’s blog is written in the spirit of making sure all of our websites fall into that first category 🙂
So, shall we begin?
The following five signs will tell you if your website is in danger of overwhelming your site visitors, and if it IS, then what you can do about it.
Here’s to seamless, effortless experiences for all of our users! Enjoy.
1) Your text to photo ratio is higher than 2:1 (aim for 1:1!)
It might seem crazy, but when I’m working on a client website, I aim for a ratio of 1:1 when it comes to the amount of text and visuals on a page. You got it – that means for any space that is taken up by text, add enough visuals (photos, illustrations, icons, etc.) to balance it out evenly. Our users don’t read every piece of text on our website, but rather, they SKIM. A generous dose of visuals will help them to do just that.
2) You have multiple paragraphs of more than 50-ish words
When it comes to website copy, “small bits and pieces” is the name of the game. However you can visually break up your text, you should. If you have a lengthy block of 500+ words you want to put on a page, you’d better break that up into various hierarchical headlines, short paragraphs, bullet-point lists, and features accompanied by icons, etc. if you want it to engage your visitors instead of overwhelming them.
3) You don’t summarize what you do and who you do it for at the top of your homepage
Once a visitor can wrap their head around who you are, what you provide, and who you provide it for, they’re less likely to get overwhelmed. Unfortunately, the availability window for them to gain this information is fairly short, which is why I almost always recommend getting this information across as soon as possible i.e. at the TOP of your homepage. Something akin to “My name is Janelle Reichman and I provide boutique, custom WordPress websites for creatives, coaches, and consultants” will do just the trick 🙂
4) Your website is missing breathing room i.e. whitespace
What is whitespace? Well, if you happen to have a white-colored background on your website, then it’s literally just that. But in a sea of colorful websites, in essence, what it means is breathing room between paragraphs, photos, icons, and any other elements you might have on a page. Experiment with expanding your whitespace to double what you might have guessed it should be. You just might find the result is a website that makes your visitors feel a great sigh of relief.
5) You have multiple unique call-to-actions on each page
A “call to action” (CTA) is what you want your user to click on to take that next step of engagement (i.e. subscribe to your newsletter, sign up for a free consult, etc). It’s usually a button (and hopefully a big, colorful one) but could also be a simple text link.
Call-to-actions are GREAT – in fact, they’re just about the most important thing on your entire website! After all, they’re where your visitor takes action. That being said, if you have too many of them, their effect is diminished or even erased altogether. Shoot for just one primary CTA per page, or on your homepage (where you might provide a sampling of different areas around your site), shoot for one CTA per section.
Setting up a website that makes your users feel calm, collected, and confident as they navigate their way is not as hard as you might think. It’s all about making things clear, easy, and breathable.
If you’re looking for assistance with this, I’d be happy to chat.
Together we could turn that visitor with her hands on her head into this:
Looking for more?
If you enjoyed this post, check out these other quick reads from Janelle (that’s me) at Ellanyze: