Usability in Web Design


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Web usability is an approach used at the design stage of building a website in order to help make websites easy to use, navigate and understand. Find out how you can use website usability to improve the usability of your website so you get the most conversions and results from it.

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Usability in Web Design

  1. 1. USABILITY IN WEB DESIGN Improve the usability of your website to increase conversions.
  2. 2. Usability   Web usability is an approach used at the design stage of building a website in order to help make websites easy to use, navigate and understand. Codes and conventions of websites are used to help create good usability on a website. Conventions of a website are such elements as a navigation menu, a header and a footer. These sections are ideal to always include in any bespoke web design as they hold key pieces of information required by customers and users of a website. Having these sections in roughly the same place on a website, makes it easier for someone who has never been on the website to find the information they require quickly.
  3. 3. Search  Make search on your website easy for the user. There are so many websites that do not incorporate good usability experience in search functions on their website. It can be difficult for users to find what they want.  Users should not have to adapt to fit the search criteria on your website. No one should have to think about how they should search to get the results that they want and are looking for.  Bad examples are drop down menus that do not make any sense to the user. i.e using ‘Name’ rather than ‘Author’ in a book search function.  TIP: Make it clear and easy to search on your website.
  4. 4. Content  Make obvious what is most important on a page.  The design of your website should be easy to read and designed in a way that is easy for the user to understand.  Choose headings that make it clear what a particular section is about. Do not frustrate your users by making them scan read your page before finding what they are after.  Use h1s, h2s & h3s to tag and prioritise your section headings. This will also be of benefit for SEO (search engine optimisation) as search engine robots will be able to scan down the page and find what exactly the page is about and rank it well to how important and relevant it is to a search query.
  5. 5. The Reality of People’s Search  Web designers have their own ideas for how they want their users to look at and use a page they have designed. The fact is, every person that visits your website will look at and use pages differently. There isn’t one person that will read a full page before moving off to the next unless the page is relevant to their query.  Users tend to scan read a page until they find something that vaguely matches a query they are after. If they don’t find anything that is even close to what they want, they will bounce off the website. This is why it is important to make clear what each section is about within the first couple sentences and use a good header to draw users into reading your content.
  6. 6. Call To ACTION!  There are ways in which you can design and develop your website so you grab the attention of your potential customers quickly and with ease. Your ultimate aim is to make people read the content on your site, engage on the website and convert by either buying a product or through filling out a contact form. If it is not clear what you want users to do on each page, you are unlikely to get the results you’re after.  TIP: Add calls to action on each of your pages to get people to “Buy Now” “Contact Us Today” or “Add to your shopping cart today!”
  7. 7. Visual hierarchies  The more important something is the bigger the heading should be. When a page does not contain a clear visual hierarchy, it is much harder for a user to scan down the page and find what they are after. Instead they themselves have to scan read and go down the page and determine what is important to them.  TIP: Add clear headings to each of your sections.
  8. 8. Conventions  Conventions on a website are useful tools to use when designing a website.  Conventions are in place as they make sense and they work. Most users know exactly where to find certain elements and sections on a website. For example, everyone knows where to find contact information on a website, either by the contact page found in the navigation, in the footer or telephone number in the header of a webpage.  TIP: Use the traditional layout of a webpage to help users navigate around your website.
  9. 9. Make your design clear    Keep the navigation on your website consistent so you do not lose any potential customers on their journey to your shopping cart or contact form. Make links clear! You wouldn’t believe how many websites have links that are not clear to be seen as a link. Internal linking is used to make it easier for users to navigate through your website to the lower levels. If your links cannot be found or you do not design your website to fit this convention, you will only get users going to the top level pages and not fully finding all of the content on your website. TIP: Make your links a different colour, underline them, make the buttons stand out and give them hover and click states to make it clear that it is a link.
  10. 10. Keep your website simple  Keep the content down to useful information. Over crowded pages with lots of content in blocks do not get read. Try not to over crowd the pages with lots of content that is not necessary.  Do not add too many banner advertisements to your website. These tend to frustrate users and distract them away from your website. Even Google now prefers users to have no more than one or two banner advertisements on a page. If you do have advertisements, make them relevant and useful to your users.  TIP: Keep your content to key important information only.
  11. 11. Drive Conversions  For E-Commerce websites, it is important to make the user journey of the shopping experience on your website easy and secure, right from putting products in a basket, through to the check out and payment.  Consider widely used payment methods for your customers to buy your products easily such as PayPal, debit and credit cards.  Use breadcrumbs on your website so your users can navigate back to a products section easily after viewing a product they have not put in their shopping cart.  TIP: Allow as many payment methods to your payment process as you can.  TIP: Do not make people sign up to your newsletter and create an account if it is not necessary.
  12. 12. Marketing Your Website  Marketing your online business is really important even before anyone lands on your website. For this you will need to know your audiences and ensure that everything on your website targets that particular audience. This will help you to receive the right types of customers that will convert or buy on your website.  Marketing agencies can help to plan out a strategy that is ideal for you and your company through marketing workshops. This will help you to understand where you should use your marketing spend and what services you need specific to your business.
  13. 13. Conclusion  Think about how users will navigate through your website.  Use the conventions of a website to ensure users can easily navigate your website.  Keep your design simple and clear.  Make your links clear that they link to other pages on your websites.  Keep your content to key important information only.  Get your users to your conversion finishing line and design your website with usability in mind.  Do not make people sign up to your newsletter and create an account if it’s not necessary.  Know and market your business to the right types of audience.