Mar18

Five Ways To Improve Website Usability

Posted by Sarah Holt

easy way

You could write a thesis on user experience or UX, but these 5 short-cuts should help if you’ve not got time…

Every year, millions of dollars are spent on testing how people navigate websites,  in the hope of making home pages more user-friendly and relevant.  Search giants like Google, for example, will tell you that, on average, users scroll down 6 times as often as they scroll up. This suggests that once page content is scrolled past it’s regularly lost.

While this subject is vast and complex, there are five easy tips that you can follow, which should make your site a hit with your visitors.

1.     Ask the Right Questions

Any new website development or revamp should tackle three key questions…

  • From where do users access your website: home, office or on their mobiles?
  • How tech-savvy are your visitors?
  • How familiar are your users with the subject matter of your website?

These will help you shape a roadmap for both the structure, content and entry points for your users. Mobile users, for instance, need info quickly and in small chunks. This has obvious implications for your site design.

2.     Test, Test, Test

Get friends and family to test your site.  Google suggests that just five people may be enough to give you an adequate insight into how usable your site actually is. Just make sure you monitor them in real time in a relaxed environment to ensure you get relevant feedback. Use PDFs and basic html to test out themes or ideas before implementing them on your main site.

3.  Logo / Company Name Visibility

This may seem obvious but it needs to be stated. Show your company name and/or logo in a reasonable size and noticeable location. Nielsen Norman Research Group suggests that the upper left corner is the best placement area for these two identity areas.

4. Include a Tag Line

Make it brief and to the point. Do not use vague or jargonistic tag lines, which may confuse users who are more impatient than ever to make sure they are accessing a site that can help them find a product or service.

5.  Make your Home Page Unique

Specifically, make sure your home page does not look the same as sub-pages in your site.  Use a slightly different site design or have a prominent location designator in the navigational apparatus.

“This visual distinction and navigational signposting ensures that users can recognize their starting point when they return from exploring a new part of the site,” said a spokesman from Nielsen Norman Group.

These five tips should create a solid foundation for your site to add additional content without become a confusing maze for users who now access website across a plethora of devices.

Need extra help? Midphase can help you get ahead with your website design. Our website builder templates have all been professionally designed, with the user-experience in mind. Find out more on the home page. 

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About Sarah Holt

Sarah Holt is a journalist and author. Her work has been published in the Guardian and The Observer, among other places. After hours, she’s a bookworm, a chocoholic, and a serial bubble bath taker. She’s addicted to travelling and spas. Her philosophy for life is live and let live. You can tweet her at @sarahholt01 or find her on Google+.

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