Website owners are always looking for ways to make their sites more user friendly, our search for tips that will help led us to study Nairaland (Nigeria’s number one forum based on traffic). We got chatting with some Nairalanders on what they think Nairaland has that makes it unique compared to other websites. Interesting feedback we got and out came the commandments listed below.
Thou shall clearly define the purpose of the platform and focus on the user
From design to coding of the website, the purpose of creating the website has to be clear to the visitor. The landing page of the Nairaland website displays the logo clearly and provides a read down of various sections in their different forum categories. It must be stated that the website looks very basic for the Techies that are used to viewing beautiful website with crazy walkthroughs and all sort of ‘effyzee’.
Your user may just need a functional website that achieves the sole purpose of what they want to do without the need of reading a manual or watching a tour video of your website. You must ask yourself these questions:
- Why are people coming to my website?
- Where are my visitors accessing my website from?
- What devices are they using to view my website?
- Which class of people (Learned / Novice) are my visitors?
- How often will my visitors need to visit my website?
If all the questions above can be clearly answered with appropriate data then you are closer to presenting your users with a platform that is more theirs than yours.
Thou shalt not hide what brought your users to your website
It is important to make navigation of your website easy for your users. Nairaland has latest topics from different categories on the nairaland home page for easy access to user. One click from the home page takes the user to the full page containing the full post. Individuals that are used to reading news headline will find it easy navigating to various topics. When making your interface user friendly, please note that not all your website visitors are techies that understand “which icons represent what”. The blue colour and the arrows at the beginning and at the end of each topic further guides the eyes to signal that they are clickable.
Thou shalt regulate image size
Nairaland enforces the image size limits for posts on topics and also for adverts placement. There are clear rules stating what type of images are accepted on the platform. And as obvious as this sounds, some websites still takes ages to load because of large image formats. Website owners should understand the mode of connectivity (Internet Service Providers) available to their visitors especially in Nigeria, low internet speed can hinder the visitor from loading the website fast and exhaust a lot of data in the process. A 1MB data balance loads the Nairaland page smoothly on both mobile and desktop devices and a cue should be taken from that.
Let thine adverts really “advertise”
Advert placement on website is a major source of income for most website owners, but strategic placement of adverts is key to help retain your visitors and most importantly bringing more adverts. Not to indulge in name calling, but certain popular blogs in Nigeria have what I call the “campaign poster’ style of placing website ads. One ad is literarilly superimposed over the other. Who does that really? Adverts are meant to be seen and not mess up the site at the same time. When uploading images used for adverts, try not to compromise the entire website with the advert. In Nigeria, Nairaland is one of the few websites that has the most orderly advert placement on the site as adverts are organised and durations given for each. Like my mother would say, open your eyes and learn.
A large percent of users are on your website for themselves and not for you, it will be wise to place adverts on your website without it getting in their faces.
Owning and running a website is no mean feat in the Nigeria we live in today as there are hundreds of established blogs and websites and amateurs springing out of every nook and cranny every day. It takes a high level of dedication, education and perseverane to successfully manage a website. With the aforementioned pointers from Nigeria’s top forum, you are closer to success. Know any other commandments? Share it with us.