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Strongly Consider Your Site's Usability

by Joe Schaefer No Comments August 6, 2010

An unusable website is destined to be a testimonial for your competitors.

When planning, designing and developing a website, an enormous consideration to make into any actionable website plan is usability.

Usability refers to a smooth, valuable, working relationship between visitor and website. Difficulty with navigation, broken links, and unintuitive experiences all play a role in a usable website.
Website Usability

Website usability in the eyes of the visitor is that which is simple and delivered in a logical manner to your specific audience, while being the same for the fringe visitors (those who do not ‘exactly” fit the demographic).

Let’s assume your visitors have found your website.

  • Are they able to actively and effectively use it in the most efficient manner?
  • How does your logo react to a click? Does it do nothing or does it always lead back to the homepage?
  • Text links. Is it clear that they are ‘clickable’?
  • Is the navigation clear and its architecture constructed in a manner consistent with the natural flow of information for your niche?
  • Can people find what they want quickly and easily (without moving forward one, two or three steps only to hit the back button or worse, leave and find your competitor)?
  • Does that same navigation remain consistent from page to page?
  • Are your visitors clicking on non-interactive parts of your pages (in other words, do your design elements confuse your visitors into thinking a click may lead to a page reload, a download, further information, etc.)?

If you answered ‘no’ to some or all of the above then you have a lot of noisy static going on with your website.

A difficult to use website is more likely than not to drive your visitor elsewhere and the average percentage of return visits is extremely low.

The synergy between web designer, developer, content strategist and business owner is very important as the former will be the web behavior experts while the latter will be the nice audience and topic expert.

Strong Usability Signals:

  • Intuitive navigation, intuitive structure
  • A ‘hot’ logo; meaning, when clicked it reloads the homepage
  • Text links are obvious and make rational sense to be in the context of the conversation
  • Information is sensibly located within rational thematic places instead of mis-categorized causing confusion
  • Consistency; including: message, navigation and topic
  • No orphan pages (an orphan page exists without access by consistent navigation and contains no further navigation to the remainder of the site, other than the ‘back’ button)
  • Design elements must clearly dictate interaction and not allow your visitors to ‘shoot blanks’ with their clicks

Stop giving your business to your competitors by launching a website with poor usability and thus, a lot of noise and too few signals.

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