A Beginner's Guide To Website Usability

November 29, 2022
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What Is Website Usability?

Website usability is the ease of use of any given website. A website that is difficult to navigate is not very usable. Websites that are hard to find, slow to load, and have lots of popups are not very useful either. There are four main components of Usability: learnability, memorability, efficiency, and satisfaction.

  • Learnability is how easily a new user can figure out how to use your website.
  • Memorability refers to how well a real user remembers how to use your website after they've stopped using it for a while.
  • Efficacy refers to how fast users can perform tasks once they are familiar with your website.
  • Finally, satisfaction refers to whether users enjoy the design and layout of your website.

A great website is one that is easy to use, efficient, satisfying, and memorable. You can test your website's function and design usability by asking yourself questions like:

  • How easy is it for me to find the information I need?
  • Does the navigation work properly?
  • Do I feel comfortable navigating through your website?
  • Can I remember where I was on your website the last time I visited?
  • Are there any popups or ads that distract me from completing my BASIC task?

What Is The Importance Of Website Usability?

Usability is associated with lower levels of user satisfaction. Therefore, it is crucial that a company's website is well-designed and meets the needs of its target audience.

Usability is very important for any website. There are so many similar websites out there that people will go to another site if the first one isn't usable. You can have a beautiful website in the world but people will leave immediately when they can't figure out how to navigate it quickly.

A Company, on the web companies entirely relies on its website presence in order to achieve online goals. Similarly, users of a company's website will form a judgment about that company that is highly correlated with the way they view its website. Furthermore, usable websites improve user satisfaction whereas websites that violate usability guidelines decrease user satisfaction.

Apple.com is a great example of a highly usable website. Its navigation menu is simple and intuitive. The search bar works perfectly and the results are displayed clearly. Overall, Apple.com is considered by many to be the best website in existence.

5 Essential Website Usability Principles

1. Accessibility And Availability

You should invest in good hosting if you want to avoid downtime. A bad web host can cause problems with your server, which can lead to errors and crashes. You should also double-check any broken links on your site. 

A responsive website is essential for ensuring that your site works well across multiple devices. Google now indexes mobile versions of websites, so a great mobile version of your site will help you rank better in searches.

You need to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone, even if they have disabilities. Ensure that your site is fully functional and accessible to anyone who wants to visit it. Include alt tags for images and captions for videos. Make sure that your site is readable and usable by everyone.

2. Ability To Learn

You can teach people anything if you provide them with the right resources. You can do this by making use of what people already understand or creating something new that is easy for them to learn.

As humans, we like patterns and familiarity, which is why we're better at dealing with familiar situations rather than unfamiliar ones. If you use new concepts in website design, make sure to apply them consistently and guide people through the initial learning phase.

For example, you can add extra information or instructions the first time people visit your site or product. Keep it simple and visual to make it easier for people to remember new concepts.

3. Clarity

A clear and usable design can only be achieved if you focus on simplicity. You should avoid getting cute and instead stick to what people already know, which means sticking to familiar designs and layouts. Here is a list of some of the key aspects of clarity:

  • Simplicity is key because it helps users stay focused on what they came here for. If you don't confuse your visitors, they'll be more likely to do whatever you want them to do, which is usually visiting your website.
  • Familiarity is another great way to achieve clarity. People tend to trust websites that look similar to ones they've visited before. So, if you want to encourage your visitors to return to your site, try using a layout that looks similar to those they've seen before.
  • Consistency is also very important. If you change your design every time you update your website, your visitors won't feel comfortable visiting your site. Instead, stick to a single design throughout your entire website.
  • Guidance is another great way to provide clarity. Show your visitors where they can find what they're looking for and give them a sense of direction.
  • Direct feedback is also vital. Whenever your visitors interact with your site, let them know whether or not they succeeded.
  • Good information architecture is another way to provide clarity. Users shouldn't have to guess what you want them to click next. Instead, tell them what to click next and direct them toward the right place.

4. Credibility

Your credibility is essential to winning the trust of your audience. You must convince your audience that you are trustworthy and credible.

Make sure that the About Us page clearly states where you are located and offers a physical address. Include your phone number and email address. Also, include links to your social media profiles and any other websites that support your brand.

You should also avoid making mistakes on your website. Mistakes, such as incorrect grammar, spelling errors, or missing punctuation can undermine your credibility.

Don't be modest about your knowledge. If you are an experienced professional, let people know it. Show off your credentials, such as third-party testimonials, work experience, or the number of followers you have on Twitter.

People are more likely to believe you if you look authentic and genuine. So, try to avoid being overly humble or boastful. Instead, focus on showing your expertise and professionalism.

5. Relevance

Relevance is key to great website usability. You need to know your audience and why they visit your website. Once you've done that, you'll be able to write content that is relevant to those specific needs.

Start by defining who your users are and what their goals are when they visit your site. Then, talk to them to determine what their goals are when using your site. Finally, define individual user scenarios that show in which situations people visit your site to accomplish certain tasks.

Any design decisions you make should result in websites that are easier to navigate and more usable for your users.

How Can We Improve Usability?

User testing is a great method for improving website usability quality of user experience. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a large study; instead, you can simply ask a handful of representative users to perform representative tasks with your website.

You'll find out if there are any usability issues that need fixing, and you can improve the overall internet user experience by making changes accordingly. To avoid contaminating the results of your user testing, shut up and let the users do the talking! Don't give them any direction or assistance.

Iterative design is the best approach to increasing the quality of prospective user experience on websites. As you iterate through multiple versions of your website, you'll notice that certain elements become easier to use and others become harder to use. By continually refining your website, you'll eventually arrive at a version that works well for everyone.

Watch people interact with your website and try to figure out what makes it difficult for them to accomplish their goals. Then, make adjustments until you've arrived at a version that works for everyone.

You should always be trying out new versions and interface concepts with real people using them. However, user tests are different than focus groups, which are not good ways of assessing UI/UX design. Focus groups are useful for gathering feedback on product features, but to assess interactions between users and user interface elements, you need to watch actual users interact with the interface.

When Should You Focus On Usability?

There are many reasons why you should focus on website usability.

  • If you don't pay attention to usability, you may end up creating a site that looks great but doesn't perform well.
  • If you don't focus on usability, you might not realize that there are certain aspects of your site that are causing issues for your visitors.
  • If you don't spend time focusing on usability, you won't be able to find out which elements of your site are causing problems.
  • If you don't address usability concerns, you risk losing traffic and revenue.
  • If you don't think about usability, you might end up spending money on unnecessary changes.

However, if you wait until after you've completed your design to conduct a usability study, you may find yourself stuck with a design that doesn't meet your needs. A lot of times, designers think that they know what works well for their target audience, but they haven't actually tested it out.

Instead, try conducting a series of quick tests throughout the design process. These tests can include anything from simple tasks to complex interactions. As long as you're able to observe the behavior of your mobile users and desktop users, you'll be able to quickly spot issues that you wouldn't otherwise notice.

Once you've identified the issues, you can either address them directly or ask your designer to incorporate those changes into the next version of the site. Either way, you'll save a ton of time and effort by focusing on usability early in the design process.

However, there are times when focusing on usability makes sense. These are the most common situations where you should consider usability:

  • You're designing a website for a brand-new product.
  • You're redesigning an existing site.
  • You're building a web application.
  • You're creating a mobile app.
  • You're building an intranet.
  • You're redesigning a print brochure.
  • You're redesigning an email newsletter.

What Exactly Is Usability Testing?

Usability testing is a technique used to test websites by observing intended users and recording their actions. You'll find out if the website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It's a great way to figure out if the website is effective and efficient.

There are three main types of usability tests: exploratory, assessment, and comparative. Each type of usability test helps you identify problems with your website and gives you ideas for improving its functionality.

Exploratory usability testing

Exploratory usability testing involves watching someone perform a list of tasks on your website. These tasks are usually performed by someone who is new to the website. During this type of test, you watch the person perform the tasks and record his/her actions. Afterward, you analyze the results and discuss the findings with the person who was tested.

Assessment usability testing

Assessment usability testing evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of a website. You observe the person performing the tasks and note any issues he/she encounters during the ongoing process. Then you compare the results to those of another similar website.

Comparative usability testing

Comparative usability testing compares two or more instructional technologies or designs. You observe the person using the technology and record his/her thoughts and feelings about the experience. Afterward, you compare the results to the same task completed on another website.

What Should You Do Once Website Usability Testing Is Complete?

Once you've completed your website usability tests, there are several steps you should take to ensure that your website is usable.

  • First, look through the notes you compiled during the tests and identify any issues that occurred frequently.
  • Then, look at the amount of time that was required to complete certain tasks and think about what can be changed to reduce the amount of time needed.
  • Finally, if you haven't already done so, contact the testers to clarify any ambiguous points.

As with any form of website usability testing, usability testing is a continuous process. So, once you have identified any issues, continue running usability tests until you feel confident that your website is completely usable.

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