For a Better User Experience, Optimize Your Website’s Responsiveness

To use your website as an effective marketing tool for your brand, it must offer a great user experience (UX). UX is used to describe the overall experience that your website offers its visitors. If fans have positive experiences when exploring your website, they are more likely to return and use your services.

You can work towards a robust UX by regularly publishing useful content and incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) tactics; but one of the best ways to make your site user-friendly is ensuring that it’s compatible across different browsers and devices. Website responsiveness matters because people who visit your site may access it from their desktop computers, mobile phones, or tablets, and use various browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer. Websites that are not compatible with all devices or browsers may look jumbled, disorganized, and might not display at all for some viewers. In an ideal scenario, your website looks and functions the same regardless of the device or web browser someone uses to access it.

If you’re not sure how to boost the cross-browser or cross-device compatibility of your site, here’s how to get started.

Website compatibility with WordPress.com

Different browsers use different languages to interpret the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that makes up websites. While some content and images may display perfectly on one browser, they might appear distorted or not appear at all on another.

Fortunately, WordPress.com does a lot of the compatibility legwork for you, so that you don’t have to worry about the technical details and coding specifics that most designers consider when they build websites. WordPress.com themes and templates are built to be mobile-responsive and cross-browser compatible, allowing you to focus on the front-end details that will draw users to your site, including image size, file formats, readability, and the layout of your content.

Image size

The images on your website shouldn’t be too large. Extremely large images can slow down the speed at which the pages on your site load, leading to poor user experiences.

Different WordPress.com themes show different maximum image sizes depending on the website’s specific layout, but a good rule of thumb is to ensure that your images are smaller than 1230 x 820 pixels. The WordPress.com sizing tool will assist you in cropping your images to your preferred size. Another thing to consider is that the average page viewed on a desktop computer is about 960 pixels wide. An image larger than the actual computer screen likely won’t look better; your theme will just adjust it to fit into the available space. The sizes of web pages on mobile sites vary, so after you upload an image to your page, check to see how it looks on both a desktop computer and a mobile device. You might have to do some testing and re-uploading to make sure that everything is properly sized.

The file sizes of your images can also affect page-load times, so you’ll want to reduce the file size in a photo editor like iPhoto or Photoshop before uploading it. You can do this by choosing the proper file format. JPEGs are the standard file format for most images and can be compressed without altering the image quality. GIFs are another option if you want to upload logos, icons, and simple images without a lot of text. GIFs tend to yield lower-quality images when you reduce their file sizes. PNGs, another file format for photos, tend to have larger file sizes. Sticking to JPEGs is often your best option.

Images can take up a significant portion of each web page on your site, so finding a way to reduce their sizes can improve your site’s performance and its appearance across browsers and devices.

Readability and content layout

It’s important to integrate white space into the layout of your website. White space refers to the empty spaces between blocks of text. This blank space is included to give readers’ eyes a rest after reading a lot of content. It keeps a page from looking too cluttered. White space isn’t always white, however — it can be any solid color (this can depend on the color of your website’s background).

It’s also important to use easily readable fonts and organize your content into short paragraphs, especially for mobile users. Stick to standard fonts like Times New Roman and Arial rather than decorative fonts that are more difficult to read and might look different across various browsers and devices.

According to an article from Forbes, “Attention spans are at an all-time low, and most users make snap decisions about articles based on their first impressions.” With this statistic in mind, limit your paragraphs to no more than a few sentences each; this makes your content more appealing to the human eye, and easier to scroll through.

It’s also common for some website owners to limit the content that mobile users see, as the screens on mobile devices are very small. The WordPress.com Business plan allows you to enable plugins that hide specific content on mobile devices, or simplify how it is presented — so feel free to remove any content from your mobile site that might overwhelm readers with too much text and information confined to a small screen. Just make sure that this content is still viewable from the desktop version of your website to avoid hurting your SEO ranking on search engines like Google.

Double-check your site

Making sure that your images are optimized for mobile devices, desktop computers, and tablets, and that your content is viewable across different browsers will improve your site’s overall user experience. It will also boost your site’s SEO ranking, which is an important way to attract more site visitors.

Before you launch your page, preview your site on different browsers and devices. This will guarantee that you’re showcasing your business in the best way possible, and gives potential shoppers an incentive to buy your products and services, as your site will be easier to navigate. Yes, double-checking everything before launching may take some time — but it will be worth the effort. After all, your website only gets one chance to make a first impression.