Website usability is defined by how easily a customer, client, or prospective convert can maneuver within the site. It relates to making your visitors feel comfortable, relaxed, and in a frame of mind that results in a sell.
Five principles outline the successful model of website usability:
- Present a common user interface. Take the hint from standard computer software. Menus belong at the top. Certain icons historically represent particular functions. Don’t reinvent the command wheel.
- Format the screen for visual unity. Group like concepts. Present information in managed chunks that clearly identify the reason and purpose for the display. Keep options near to the reason for the option.
- Maintain a consistent pattern of options, choices, and corresponding consequences. Let your yes always be yes and your no always be no. Action buttons must follow a predetermined symmetrical layout.
- Remove every instance that leads to ambiguity. Make things obvious. Don’t try to be different just to be different.
- Organize for effectiveness. You are selling a product, even if it is only a political idea. Unless your website effectively places that product before the eyes of your visitors, the website’s usability value is worthless.
However, when too much focus is put on website usability, website layout and design is usually sacrificed.
To be different is sometimes respectable, but not always efficient. Search engine promotion is usually critical, but not always user-friendly. Whirling graphics are typically eye-catching, but not always beneficial to business success.
In its ultimate value to human visitors, the Internet provides three things:
- Social Interaction
When webmasters forget to program for these three critical points, website design becomes a mere byword. Following every rule pertaining to SEO, graphic placement, and unique content is worthless if it fails to satisfy a consumer need in at least one of the above areas.
The facts are simple: Quality website design involves a multitude of complex components woven together in a manner that captures the search engines, meets a specific consumer need, and then provides an intuitive user interface that promotes product sales.
Perhaps you rebel against the thought of a standardized approach to website design. Do so at your own risk. But if success is your actual goal, consider spending some time in research.
Look around the web. Identify the sites that catch your attention. Ask yourself what is happening on that page that makes you like it. Then:
- Check the page rank
- Examine the nature of product presentation
- Check the site’s estimated value
- Test keyword performance via the search engines
- Separate eye candy from effective graphic placement
- Identify for yourself the creditable usability of the site.
With these helpful tips, your website will be ascetically pleasing, and most importantly, user friendly!