Website Usability - Part 2

November 1, 2010

Website Usability
Following from the Website Usability Tips Part 1, posted a few days ago, here is part two.Remember, website usability is not just about the appearance of a website, but more importantly how your site performs and particularly, it gives emphasis to the experience of your visitors.In the design, build and with the ongoing maintenance and updating of your website, your visitors must always be taken into consideration. The best way to be thinking about this is that website usability should never be considered after the construction of a site.If you do have a site already then you can have a website usability review, but fixing and then re-testing your website after construction means that you will have to spend more money and it ends up sometimes costing more. Why? Because it is harder to un-do what has been done most of the time and you end up paying twice for development work. As mentioned, the best approach would be to combine the thought process of website usability into your web design and construction process - so ensure you ask your developers if they have any experience in this.Once done, as mentioned in the previous post, you will keep visitors returning to the site, have them stay on longer and increase the number of sales or leads generated from it. So here are some simple quick fire things that you can do to increase the website usability of your site, and the reasons why people will stay longer, come back and buy more (in no particular order):
  • Very simple and easy to use navigation
  • Fast download time and page load speed
  • Frequently updated information and offers
  • High content quality
  • Ample content quantity
  • Good content organisation
  • Prompt customer service
  • Intelligent website search tools
  • Good page layout, particularly the homepage
  • Enjoyment
  • Your website appearance
  • Inclusion of animated graphics, videos and other media
Based on the reasons that have been written over the past two posts, here are 8 key website usability tipsto help you design and build a website that will generate you the return you are looking for.   1. Get familiar with your visitors You need a website with personality as well as content quality that accommodates your visitor’s taste; you should understand and recognise the colour choices that will engage them, their level of technical ability, their level of understanding regarding your niche etc.   2. Create an obvious and very simple interface The more apparent and recognisable your website user interface is, the more your visitors will feel at home and rarely will have to suffer frustration in guessing how your website works. Instead on concentrating on the interface, they should be concentrating on your site’s content and your products.   3. Website readability Ensure that you have very easy to read paragraphs of text, not using small text or a small font size.   4. Quick loading A well optimised page in terms of a fast load speed will help you with visitors and the search engines. You need to ensure you site is a fast downloadable site - visitors hate to wait.   5. Avoid hidden navigation Keep it out in the open. Your visitors need to know where and what to click in order to go on the journey you want them to go on.   6. Get visitor feedback This is vital information. Use it to find out what is working and what isn’t. Learn from your website visitors and customers.   7. Provide a help section or FAQ If visitors to your website makes a mistake or struggles to find something, then anything you can do to assist them and point them in the right direct will be a huge help.   8. Clearly display your Phone number The amount of sites that do not display a phone number is staggering. What if you have a customer that wants to spend £100's with you and they want an answer about a £5 product? Do you loose the whole sale for the quick question about a small product that they wanted to call you up about?   And finally, a thought around testing for usability - for all website owners.   Testing for usability is not a complicated task and can be an inexpensive project to carry out. Here at toinfinity we are experts in website usability and have helped many businesses online turn websites into gold-mines for their business. For a small investment you could uplift the sales and leads generated from your site in no time at all.   At times we have invited groups of people to sit together and then request them to navigate a website, whilst we watch and observe while they surf. Or we have undertaken to perform the usability testing ourselves. If possible, and caught early enough, what we do say is that all of this should not wait until a website is live. It should be done before you launch and as part of the design and development process. After the site is live it still can be tested and amended, but then you need to implement the changes to a live site.   Remember that website usability is concerned to not just with the design and overall appearance of a site, but more importantly how your site performs and how your visitors experience your offering online.   For more information on website usability, contact toinfinity on 01793 238 697 or email info@toinfinity.co.uk  

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