Website usability with Wecan Media

WEBSITE USABILITY WITH WECAN MEDIA

One of the most important tasks for any website designer is website usability. Website usability can be defined as a way of measuring the quality of the user’s experience when they’re using the website. Website design, from the viewpoint of the user, should be seamless. The user should be able to find their way around your website easily, navigating to exactly where they wish to go without having to undertake special training. Website usability isn’t just one thing however, it happens to be based on a number of factors. Absolutely anyone looking through your website will want their ease of learning to be top quality.

They’ll want to be able to get to grips with the user interface so they’re able to jump in and out whilst accomplishing the most fundamental and navigational tasks. Efficiency in terms of use is another such factor. Once they’ve learnt to navigate your website (hopefully quickly), they’ll want to accomplish things with haste and they’ll want to do this even if they’ve never used your website before. They’ll also want to be able to do this again should they wish to revisit in the future without having spent a lot of time on your website previously. This is known as memorability. Once they’ve finished with your website, they should have liked the experience. Now of course, you can’t please everyone in life however there are always common standards that you should be working towards in order to ensure good usability. Here at Wecan Media, we give you a rundown of the most common usability mistakes in web design and explain how best to avoid them.

Usability error one: clickable areas that are too small

Your website will no doubt contain a number of hyperlinks and these are all supposed to be clicked on so it’s essential that you make them big enough to be clicked easily; it’s just that simple when it comes to this particular usability error. If they aren’t big enough then your hyperlinks won’t be very well received. You must remember that your user’s hands won’t be very precise to begin with so by making clickable areas too small, you almost ensure the only people to click on them will be the ones with the finesse on a computer mouse. A bigger hyperlink however makes it much more convenient to simply hover the cursor over. In order to make your clickable area bigger we suggest simply making the link bigger or improve the padding around it.

Usability error two: abuse of pagination

In terms of website usability, pagination can indeed be great but only when it’s used for the correct purpose during website design. When used correctly, it can be a welcome feature that gives the website a much more convenient layout making it far easier to absorb. Sadly, it can also be misused making it a big contributing factor to usability inconvenience. There are some websites that are fond of using pagination to divide their content pages in to a number of different pages and there’s an ulterior motive behind this; to increase page views. A lot of online magazines and even blogs get their revenue by advertising.

By receiving more page views, this increases their stats allowing them to charge far more for placing advertisements on their websites. What they don’t realise however is that this can be detrimental when it comes to SEO. By dividing your content up, you’re pretty much diluting it and this has the effect of reducing the number of relevant keywords on each page. This means that every one of your pages make far less sense to Google and as a result, Google will fail to correctly recognise what each page is about. This will severely impact on the search engine results in a negative way.

Usability error three: hard to scan content

If content is hard to scan then generally it’s a case of content that suffers from bad copy. Your copy is the text portion of your content and it’s essential when it comes to making the usability of the website great. Before you start worrying about your copy, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the viewing habits of your users. Unfortunately for those putting in the hard work when it comes to copy, your site users won’t read all of the information on the webpage.

In reality, they’ll absorb information by jumping from one portion of content to another and grab what pops out at them on the page. The eyes of your users will dart from one thing that interests them to another which requires you to structure your webpage in such a way to accommodate such frantic behaviour. To do this we advise your website has just a few clear points of focus and these will function much like the sections of your page to catch their eyes. Perhaps include bigger fonts, along with contrasting colours. You may also want to feature a descriptive heading for every point of focus ensuring these headings are short and to the point, never cryptic. Finally, all additional text must be easy to take in for the average reader.

In summary

In summary, good usability requires a number of distinct factors that can all seem difficult to keep up with. Website usability is all about the user and how they feel while they’re travelling around on your website. During the website design you should be putting yourself in their shoes and asking yourself questions such as: can they navigate easily? Will they remember how to navigate it next time they visit? Will they enjoy using your website?

Good website usability has a number of practical benefits to remember too such as return custom. If they can navigate your website easily, then there’s much more chance of them returning. They might also tell their friends and family about it and as a result, you’ll achieve more page views and eventually a loyal following. Keep usability in mind when designing your website and you’ll soon reap the rewards.

For more information on usability and other important factors within web design such as, why you should be monitoring your web traffic, then contact us at Wecan Media today.


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