10 Tips for Better Website Usability

Fine tuning your website for the most optimum usability can take time and iteration. Giving visitors better usability doesn’t have to be an exercise in madness.

It does require some foresight and consideration on your part. After all, if you don’t care about your usability, your users most certainly won’t care about it. Here are ten ways to make your website more user-friendly without making yourself crazy!

Tips for Better Website Usability

Three Clicks?

Just about everyone has heard the infamous “three clicks” rule. This basically says that users get impatient if they have to click more than three times to find what they want.

In contrast, more recent studies indicate that it really doesn’t matter how many clicks it takes for a user to get to where they want to be as long as they get some kind of signpost to indicate they’re on the right track.

F It.

No, you shouldn’t throw up your hands and give up. Instead, you should organize the information on your site with the most important or relevant information to the top and left in an “F” pattern.

This makes finding pertinent information easier and thus offers better usability to visitors.

Speed It Up!

A faster website gives a better user experience by not making surfers wait for the page they want to load. You can do this by avoiding music, banner ads and flash video on pages unless it’s essential that such things be there.

Customers are impatient. They want to get straight to the things that interest them. Remember, a faster site means better usability and higher profits!

Readability

If your content is jargon-heavy, confusing, or uses a lot of “five dollar words,” you might want to rework the information.

It’s never a good idea to assume your clientele can’t keep up, but you’ve also got to think in terms of attracting casual surfers who may become customers.

Making your content more readable equals creating a site with better usability.

Forget About The Fold

“Above the fold” is a term borrowed from the newspaper industry to mean content a customer can see without scrolling.

If you’ve got readable, relevant, engaging content that will interest your clientele, you can post a two thousand word article without worrying.

If you concentrate on “the fold,” you’re likely to wind up with short, boring “sales pitches” rather than real facts.

To The Left

Remember Rule #2? Most readers in the Western world are trained from the first book they read to scroll from left to right. Because of this, the information you think is most important should always go to the left.

It makes the web design “pop” more and offers better usability because it puts key information right where the reader’s eyes naturally fall.

Whitespace

Some people really hate to include whitespace (margins, headers, paragraph breaks, etc.) on websites.

While text with no margins can be read more quickly, it’s not comprehended as readily. More comprehension means better usability.

The Devil’s In The Details

Small things matter. A “404” error comes off cold and unfeeling. Meanwhile, “Sorry… that didn’t seem to work” makes customers feel more cared for. Better usability isn’t only about the big things, but little ones too.

Searching Doesn’t Always Help

Better usability means not relying on your search bar or engine. If your information is laid out logically and effectively, customers can find what they’re looking for faster and with better usability of the available content on your site.

Don’t Worry About Getting Home

Search engines don’t care how nice your home page is. They’re interested in relevant content. One recent estimate says that only two percent of searches will land users on your home page. Spend more time on the parts that actually tell customers about your business.

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Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

1 Comment

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    • Marcus Kaiser
    • December 16, 2012
    Reply

    Steve’s articles are always right on point! Following the advice in this one would help a lot companies be more “customer friendly” in their web development as well as search engine smart!

You must be pretty smart because you're here. We like your style. You can have all of our latest tools, tactics and growth strategies FREE, in your inbox, every month or so. 

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