6 Things To Include for a User Friendly Footer

An example footer from Apple.com

For some, the footer of a website is an afterthought. However, in many cases, a footer can be a useful and important tool to use for site navigation and to distribute information to your viewers. Footers should not be too information heavy, and it is advisable to keep their design simple and not overflowing with graphics.

The information that you do put in your footer can give users an opportunity to discover important information on your site and can be a great navigation tool and part of a really important first impression.

Key Footer Information

About Us Link

Have a link to your About Us section, which should include basic information about you or your company. This allows users an additional opportunity to ascertain the nature of your site. It is important to try and put a face to a company.

Contact Us Link

One of the biggest issues that I find when we review sites is sites that have no way to contact their owner or webmaster. It could be as simple as you wanting to let them know that they have a typo, or as beneficial as wanting to request a quote for their services. It is important to have multiple and thorough ways of being contacted. Also, if you are using a captcha on a contact form, test it yourself to see whether or not it is comprehensive or frustrating.

Terms of Service

If you are providing a service or a product, this is your chance to link to all of the good legal jargon. This is a great self-protective measure and is very important to have. Placement of this in the footer is a very standard location and users would anticipate it being there.

Privacy Policy

MailChimp FooterThe Mail Chimp Footer

If you are handling sensitive information, or capturing peoples email addresses or passwords, it is good to state how you plan on keeping that information safe and what information you may be logging when users visit your site. Again, this is a self preservation measure and it is good to have all of your ducks in a row, as well as assuring your users that they can trust you.

Site Map

Linking to your site map allows users a place where they know they can locate how to navigate the rest of your site. This way, if anyone gets lost they can find their way right there in the footer. As many people who are getting lost will scroll all the way down a page, this is the perfect location for that link.

Address and Phone Number

If you have a physical business, offer phone support, or have a reason for people to mail you things, putting that information in the footer is an anticipated and appropriate location. Be sure to give people the correct information that they need.

JohnLeopard.comJohnLeopard.com

Quick Tips for Footer Design

Keep your footer clean, concise and readable. Avoid flashy graphics and fonts. Make sure that you can read the font over the background color and be clear what is and what is not a link. Keep with standard conventions when choosing how to make your links appear to your users. Many footers are centered. Having a footer align right or left can sometimes make the bottom of a site appear lop sided. Be sure that the information discussed above really is at the very bottom of your site. The only thing lower than it would be a copyright notice.

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Comments

  1. I would have to agree that often times designers don’t think about EOP (end of page) actions. When a user gets to the end of the page, they are often times looking for something to do. If they don’t find something to do, they click the back button. A useful footer can be just as important as a useful header.

    Great article!

  2. Um, you’ve only got 1/2 of those here. Yeah, you can forgo the address & phone but still…

  3. I am increasingly finding ways to make use of the footer on all client pages, there are some really good tips and tricks here. Thanks!

  4. Very nice post. Especially the “address and phone” tip. I really hate it, when it is impossible to find out in which country the person behind a service is. In germany we have a law that says that “every” website must have an imprint. I have learned that this is really a good thing, because you have to show who you are and where you are from…

  5. @David: That’s a great point I find myself doing exactly that, clicking the back button or closing the tab, when I finish reading something even if I enjoyed it. It becomes a chore to scroll back to the top to potentially go on to explore the site further.

  6. okk.. you got me thinking about my footer.. thank you for inspiration

  7. I also use space in the footer for providing site statistics, such as number of sales listed, number of items listed, number of users on the site, etc. What might not be content that compels users to click in the main presentation area of the page seems perfectly at home in the footer for the curious to discover.

  8. Matthew, thank you for this tip, it’s a good idea!
    For address on the footer, make sure that you are using html tag, it helps for microformat.

  9. nice post. Having a sitemap in the footer allows users to quickly jump from page to page and you save the visitors a click.

    related: http://www.webdesignerwall.com/trends/modern-sitemap-and-footer/

  10. The name and address tip should be used more often! Thanks for the tips!

  11. volkan April 1, 2009

    Adding “Back to Top” link can be taken into consideration.

  12. Not to be “that guy”…. but I think this article was completely scant of useful information. Yeah, About Me, Contact Us, and so on, we get it. But even people who never even use the internet would have the common to sense to include this type of information.

    The footer is definitely more important then the author of this article implies. I’d say about 10-15% of all clicks reside in the footer, and designers/developers should be very conscious of goes here. (I am basing this off my own personal e-commerce stores) Big fan of UX Booth, but sorry the article was amateur and not really as informative/descriptive/guiding as it could be.

  13. Good overview of whats required, could do with adding a couple of these to our site actually. Good list,

  14. I don’t think this article was that bad. I think it all depends on the target audience. I’m guessing there are plenty of website that don’t include all of these things. Especially a site map, which is important for larger sites and search engines.

  15. This post covers basicis of having an effective footer for User Experience.

    Some posts that provide you more information about general User Experience & SEO benefits:

    Modern Sitemap and Footer (also lists benefits of having Footer) – http://www.webdesignerwall.com/trends/modern-sitemap-and-footer/

    Footer Link Optimization for Search Engines and User Experience – http://www.seomoz.org/blog/footer-link-optimization-for-search-engines-user-experience

    Put Your Best Foot Forward: 19 Gorgeous Website Footers http://www.seomoz.org/blog/put-your-best-foot-forward

    I would also suggest to you having additional resources/links to other sites that carry out similar posts/tips. Would add more insights for users who visit UX Booth.

    Cheers

  16. Thanks all for the comments. I appreciate the support and the constructive criticism.
    I feel as though here on UX Booth we cater to a wide audience of beginners and experts. In writing this article, I wanted to provide some basic footer suggestions for the “common” user.
    Thanks everyone for your valuable input!

  17. oh man this is SO handy ^^,

  18. Great. thanks so much !

  19. Very useful! thanks :)

  20. Thanks for tThanks for the tips!

  21. Thank you for articles like this. Very useful!

  22. I love the footer design on Apple.

    Great attention to the needs of a potential PC – Mac user.

  23. How about a Disclosure link? Or would that be included with the Terms of Service page?

  24. Are there any thoughts of having your top level sitemap links. Lets say you have 40 of them. Good / Bad? I would think it is good so that visitors can easily navigate your site if they are at the bottom of the page.

  25. Yeah, this is a really good post. Right now all I have is an RSS link. I think I shall put some code in there maybe recent articles… :/

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