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Usability: The Key to Great Website Design Usability: The Key to Great Website Design

Usability: The Key to Great Website Design

Website usability is more than just having your mouse-pointer stay visible and clicking on the correct links. A lot has to be incorporated for a website to have the best possible usability.

The design of a site has to be very user friendly. It has to give the user a good first impression of the company it represents. Everything from font size and colour, to the placement of buttons and menu choices, has a huge impact on how usable a website is.

What do people want to find when they visit a website? No two people will likely give the same answer to that question. People look for many different things on a website, but some examples are information, inquiry forms, entertainment, buying products, and more.

You should design your website with the purpose of delivering its specific purpose, so it can compete in the vast world of the internet.

Talk to your visitors – not at them

How many party bores have you met in your life: the ones who talk endlessly about themselves without a thought for you? The worst websites are like that, rabbiting on with generic self-praise, making it hard to understand what they are talking about, and failing to tell you what you want to know.

What a waste of time. An interested prospect has come to look for a solution to their problem and find mostly waffle about the website owner’s products and services and how great they are.

A properly thought out website commits none of these cardinal sins; the best web designers have usability at top of mind and make sure that your site meets the needs of all your visitors, whether they come to you on desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones.

8 ways to create great website usability

  1. Be useful: provide the info your prospect needs, without waffling or talking about yourself more than absolutely necessary to establish and/or confirm your expertise as part of the quality and value you offer. Write about the benefits it provides for its users/customers/prospects. If you do that well enough, your prospects will know without a doubt why they need to buy from you.
  2. Be user friendly: make sure your website loads quickly; avoid it being so complex that it takes more than a couple of seconds to load. The longer it takes for your web pages to load, the less likely the visitor will convert into a lead or customer. You’re not only going against your competitor’s websites, you are also going against the most visited websites in the world in Google, Facebook and Twitter. Well-known websites are fast and responsive; they have held on to their visitors and made them fans and leads because of their great user experience (UX).
  3. Be very, very clear about who you are talking to and why. What are they looking for? How can you provide it? Which devices are they most likely to use? Make sure your web designers consider this in the design process.
  4. Keep it simple and easy to understand, no matter how complex your offer; edit ruthlessly to eliminate clutter. Keep to key benefits and ‘reasons to buy’. Ensure your design makes information visible and accessible.
  5. Make navigation easy: ensure your website navigation paths are intuitive. Don’t let visitors get lost in blind alleys or dead ends, especially when sending them to other sections of your website; make menus easily accessible so your visitor knows where they are at all times and always let them know what the next step should be.
  6. Don’t try to be arty or ‘clever’. Website visitors are notoriously impatient and rushed: they don’t have time for frippery that wastes their time and forces them to figure out what you mean. Clarity trumps persuasion every time.
  7. Make your visitor’s life easier: help them find the information they want from you without making them jump through hoops. Use prompts and reminders so they don’t need to remember details to get around your site. Don’t make them guess or calculate: it’s your website’s job to provide the facts they need without needing to work for them.
  8. Ensure your website works well across devices, especially mobile ones. Images, videos, big menus, etc are bigger issues on mobile devices due to the screen size and slower download speeds. Good responsive web design and development provides a great experience no matter the device.

Good usability is about having all the ingredients in place for a user to reach their desired goal. Website usability provides a consistent, intuitive and easy-to-use user experience which ultimately converts visitors into customers. To create an effective website that performs you have to take all three elements of usability into consideration; design, copywriting and functionality.

If you’re looking to step up your online presence, reach a bigger market and convert more leads, we’re here to help.

Give us a call at (02) 8211 0668 or e-mail us at [email protected].

Michael Lam

Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.

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