Creating a User-Friendly Website: Dos and Don’ts

Posted on Oct 26, 2010


We all know the basics, sitemap, structured navigation, forms that work, etc. But what else do you need to keep in mind when creating a user-friendly website?

Here are a few more suggestions:

DO…

  • a 404 Page
  • a good Contact Page

DON’T

  • HTTP-based resources on a HTTPS page
  • Reset buttons in forms

404 Custom Error Pages

Setting up a custom 404 error page ensures that users know what to do or where to go if they followed an old or broken link.

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Remember, a 404 page should look like an error page, but it should still look like your website.

A Good Contact Page

Providing a well-designed and thought-out contact page on your website will look professional and make people actually want to contact you.

If you are designing a business website, your contact page tells a lot about your company’s approach to customer service. If you want your customers to contact you, you need to give their favored options prominence on the contact page, whether it is an email form or a phone number.

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HTTP-Based Resources on HTTPS Page

Have you seen this warning before?

This warning is triggered in Internet Explorer if it is displaying a secure HTTPS page containing non-secure HTTP resources, such as an image.

While the popup can be annoying and even frustrating for visitors, Internet Explorer does have a point – non-secure content should not be served on a secure page.

One possible solution: relative links. If you have the same content on your HTTP and HTTPS pages, using relative links to the images will prompt your browser to use the protocol that the page is loading with.

However, if the non-secure resources are 3rd party plugins (ie. stats counter, social media badges), then it is best to keep them off your HTTPS page.

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Reset Button in Form

When a user clicks the reset button in a form, all controls in the form is reset to their initial value, removing anything that the user has entered. Unfortunately, this is rarely what the user wants – reset buttons are often placed next to the Submit button and can be clicked by mistake. There is no way to undo the reset and usually no warning is given before the form is reset. Data is lost, the form has to be filled out all over again and the user is now frustrated!

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