Website Usability 101– Tips To Avoid Common Blunders
- Peter North
- October 22, 2012
For a website to be popular among targeted audiences, usability is the most important factor. Being creative is great, but a website ultimately needs to be usable for your end users. This can prove to be a distinguishing factor for the website to stand out from the crowd.
Web designers, who prefer creativity to usability, do so at the expense of their site visitors. Here are some tips to help veteran web designers, as well as the rookies.
Search Box – Integral To High Usability
For a website studded with quality content, visitors always want an easy-access approach. How do you help the site visitors to reach the piece of information they are hunting for at the site? A search box is of great use and is always appreciated by site visitors. Google Custom Search is a great option to facilitate the site visitors.
Content Readability – Make It Easy
A stellar web design may attract visitors, but its the content that keeps them engaged and helps them in making a quick buying decision. How to make the content readable? Here are some suggestions!
- Sans Serif typefaces are excellent to be used for body copy.
- Limit the font sizes up to a max of three: for header, sub-header, and body content.
- On any given web page, there shouldn’t be more than 3 typefaces.
- Text emphasis should be used sparingly.
- Alignment should be either left or justified (depending on the way content is being presented).
- Paragraphs should be kept on the short side.
Content Organization – Pay Heed To It
Content writing is the task of writers, but organizing the content on pages is the job of designer. Here are some helpful points.
- Present the content first that address to the visitors’ unique needs and issues. The information should be made easy to access.
- Follow the way your visitors think and present the content in that logical manner.
- Arrange the content while keeping in mind the differences of the targeted audiences.
Updated Content – Make It a Priority
A website grows with every passing day, so the content should be updated regularly to appeal to the targeted customers. The best approach in this regard is to acquire some maintenance services from a web design firm to update the content on regular basis and to remove the outdated content.
Smooth Navigation – Make It Possible
If you want your visitors to stick around, this is critical. If they are hampered by difficult navigation, it could become an easy reason for the visitors to leave your web page. What makes for smooth navigation? Here are some tips!
- Links should be labeled with easy to understand names
- Keep the hyperlinks highlighted in the text body
- Remove any of the dead link from the site
Web Design Consistency – Consider It
Creativity is good for a website, but it should be used wisely. Simplicity should be the priority to grab the attention of the targeted visitors and to make consistency possible in a web design.
Scroll Bar – Keep It Vertical
While designing a site, screen resolution should be kept in mind. 1024 x 768 is the optimized desktop layout. Horizontal scroll bars are irregular and most find them irritating. One can get help from Google Analytics to know more about the monitor resolution used by the visitors who visit the site. Mobile based visitors should also be considered while thinking about the screen resolution.
More White Space – Never Ignore
Above the fold information is the real eye catching thing for site visitors. White space should also not be ignored and should be made attractive and professional.
Audio Music – Avoid It Or Keep It Limited
While using audio music at a site, a designer should think about the main purpose of the site. Music almost always annoys visitors to the point of clicking away immediately. If it’s necessary to add music, then audiences should be given the complete control of that whether to start or muteit. It shouldn’t be changed with each page.
Pagination – Use It Wisely
Pagination can be a good element of web design if it’s used at an e-commerce site, having pictures to display. For an article, pagination is not recommended. Although, for an article, pagination is used to increase the page views, which determines the improved revenue, but it affects SEO efforts and the readers negatively.
Contact – Make It Easy
To solve any of the visitors’ problems, a contact form should be made easy to access and should be in working condition.
Registration – Excess Is Bad
Many websites demand users register before accessing the site, which is a major mistake. If you must ask visitors to register, always ask for the bare minimum of information, as asking too many questions will cost you many of your visitors. Think of every question as a barricade between your potential customers and your site. The fewer you have, the better.
Are you committing any of the blunders related to the points mentioned above? If you can think of any more usability tips that I have forgotten, please leave them in the comment section below!
Peter North is a passionate writer who loves to write about technological stuff, mostly about web design.
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