Introduction to Usability

Published on February 19, 2007

Web usability is the ease of use of a website or web application. Most web users have certain expectations on how a website should behave. The more a website meets these expectations, the more usable the site becomes.

Web usability generally covers the following:

  • Interface Design
  • Organization
  • Content

Interface Design

A self-explaining design saves you from “What does this button do?” questions. A good interface is easy enough to figure out without any further instructions. It should be obvious.

Your site should keep within the short span of time that web users spend in looking for that vital piece of information. Every part on a website affects the overall impact it has to users. The following have been proven to appeal to web users:

  • Images and colors that are easy on the eyes
  • Easy-to-understand menus, buttons, and links
  • Scannable content

Apart from being functional, a website should also be engaging. The site should be a visual space that drives web users to explore what you have to offer. This can be done through careful evaluation of target audience psychology and applying these to your design.

Organization

Organization refers to the grouping of information on a website. For example, putting your product information under the ”About Us“ section will probably confuse users. Sections should be logically arranged so that users can go by gut-feel to navigate across the site.

One of the biggest challenges web users often face is finding information that they need. With the millions of other possible sources of information out there, don't expect them to bother with your clutter.

Content

Web content should be written in language that your visitors understand. Keep your content simple and sensible. This helps you connect with your visitors.

Web users also don't read content. They scan. Content should be presented in a scannable format by emphasizing key ideas, and using lists and headlines. This draws users' attention towards key points.

Avoid turning off web users by trading facts for well-worn sales pitches. Useful content gives credibility to your site. Informing clients is a way of involving them in your business.

Benefits

Getting the balance of attractive design, organized information, and credible content translates to usable websites. The better your website functions, the better experience your visitors will have.

Your website should be able to reflect your vision and show who you are. More importantly, your website should accommodate, inform, and influence web users.

  1. Accommodate

    The appeal of your website interface is responsible for giving a good first impression. A neat, organized, and intuitive website draws in more users. The easier it is to use your website, the more your visitors can focus more on what you have to offer.

  2. Inform

    Usability lets you deliver the message across through sensible and straightforward content. Using simple language makes your content clear. No-frills web content also raises your credibility.

    Information presented in a scannable format saves your visitors' time. It also helps them find and recall key points quickly.

  3. Influence

    A usable site also gives you better chances of closing deals with your visitors. By providing a hassle-free experience, it is easier to influence visitors to avail of your products or services.

    Building customer trust is vital for any business. Usability gives out the impression that your company is really focused on delivering.

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