In the midst of an Ellanyze website audit and makeover, we made these six huge improvements to the Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation website. Could your website use these enhancements as well?
Many people don’t know that in addition to offering full website redesign and build projects, I also offer an Ellanyze Website Audit. It entails me spending two hours going over your entire website top to bottom and submitting to you a full report of all recommended changes for improved usability and design. And then, if a client so chooses, I can then implement all said changes for a true Ellanyze website makeover!
This is just what happened recently with the Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation website. This incredible organization provides financial and emotional support to families dealing with pregnancy complications or the loss of a new baby.
During this website makeover, we made lots of improvements including the six items listed below. Could your website benefit from making these changes as well? Read on to find out.
#1: Contrast contrast contrast
One of the first things we did on the CLT Foundation website to improve usability was make sure there was consistently enough contrast between text color and background color across the site. Often if a website has a white background and a light text color, it can make the copy hard to read.
TIP: If you’re not sure your contrast is high enough, try this free online Contrast Checker!
#2: Remove unused plugins
We sped up the page-load of the CLT Foundation website in a HUGE way by deleting nearly ten WordPress plugins on the backend that we weren’t actually using. If you have a WordPress website, deleting any plugins you’re not using can mean big changes in the amount of time it takes your pages to load.
TIP: In addition to removing unneeded plugins, aim to also remove any themes you’re not using, and delete any unused pages (published or draft) as well. “Trimming the fat” on the backend of your WordPress website is a great way to improve your page load speed.
#3: Menus 101
A common misstep in website navigation comes into play when there are dropdown menus. Often the “top-level” dropdown item (meaning the item you click on to view the dropdown menu) is its own unique page and can get missed by users because they skip that page and look only at the items in the dropdown menu.
TIP: If you have a dropdown menu, employ one of the following two solutions: 1) Make the top-level page a summary page that includes links to all items in the drop-down menu below, or 2) If your top-level page is a unique page, included a link to that page in the dropdown menu AS WELL (maybe with a slightly different name) to make sure people don’t miss it.
#4: No social media in the header
A lot of WordPress themes include social media links in the website’s header (meaning at the very top of the page) and I’ve never understood why. After all, it’s sort of like inviting people to leave your website just as they’ve arrived!
TIP: If you want to include social media links on your website (and it’s a great idea to do so), instead put them in your website footer, meaning the very bottom of each page. Generally, if people are looking for them, they’ll know intuitively to look here.
#5: Descriptive buttons & links
One of the best ways you can make your website more accessible for vision-impaired users who might be using a screenreader is to make sure all of your buttons and links across your site have descriptive text that communicates to the reader where they’ll be taken when they click that link.
TIP: If you see any buttons or links on your website that say “click here” or “learn more” see if you can change that text to be more descriptive i.e. “Read our story” or “View testimonials.”
#6: External links? Open ’em in a new tab/window
What is an internal versus external link? An internal link is a link that takes users to a page WITHIN your website (one of your other pages). An external link is a link that takes users anyplace else.
TIP: If you have any external links on your website (and I usually include opening a PDF document in this list), set those links to open in a new tab/window. This way, users won’t lose their place on your website when they click the link.
Sometimes you don’t need an entirely NEW website – your current one just needs a little “freshening up.” Employing the six suggestions above can help to make your website a happier experience for users and more accessible for all.
Think your website could use a little TLC by way of an Ellanyze Website Audit (and maybe a Website Makeover)? Get in touch. I’d love to chat! 🙂
PS: If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the refreshed Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation website. If you’re looking for a new cause to support, this is an incredibly important one.