Whether you’re a financial adviser or a web designer, it’s easy to understand why it’s important to build a website that visitors can use. When a visitor arrives on any adviser’s website for the first time can they inherently, fluidly find the information they’re looking for? Recently, I came across this article from Smashing Magazine that cites evidence on the importance of creating a user-friendly site. Here are three science-backed usability stats that I found especially interesting:
Let’s back up… what is website usability?
Website usability is a fancy tech term that refers to how user-friendly a site it. According to Google, web usability is:
“… the ease of use of a website. Some broad goals of usability are the presentation of information and choices in a clear and concise way, a lack of ambiguity and the placement of important items in appropriate areas.”
After nearly a decade of research on how people use the internet, Nielsen Norman Group discovered 77 percent of first-time visitors don’t scroll. At all. Let’s rephrase: when a visitor arrives at your adviser website for the first time, they only see what is “above the fold.”
This data represents how important the homepage of a site is. First-time web visitors come to a site with three *big* questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why should I care? (this is the most important)
While it’s not a good idea to cram every detail about a firm on the homepage, it’s important to make the best use of the space that’s available. The best adviser websites are designed to draw in first-time visitors and are compelling enough to make them want to stick around.
White Space Helps Us Focus
White space on a site is kind of a valuable commodity, but it’s all about balance. Too much white space can be perceived as uninformative or boring, while not enough white space often leaves visitors feeling confused and overwhelmed.
Smashing Magazine referenced a study by Lin (2004) that found a “good use of white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20 percent.”
Optimizing the amount of white space on a page helps visitors understand and process the information they’re taking in and focus.
It’s also worth noting that white space doesn’t have to be white. The term refers to the empty space between other stuff (words, pictures, buttons, forms, etc.) on a page.
“Quality of Design Is an Indicator of Credibility”
According to this article from Smashing Magazine, many researchers and institutions have questioned what factors influence how web users perceive a site’s credibility. Of the research that’s been performed, there are a few elements we all agree are important:
- Layout and design
- Frequency of updates
Long story short, web visitors are shallow and distracted (often by hundreds of other websites). According to the most research performed to date, web users definitely judge a book by its cover, forming their own ideas about your firm based on the quality of the design. A well-designed, professional-looking website increases perceived credibility among web visitors, while a disorganized, outdated adviser website does the opposite.
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