In a recent usability study we carried out on behalf of Kingston College we noticed a few common issues which a lot of websites have. There are a few basic issues which are often overlooked, but can be resolved relatively easily. Web usability should be an important focus when commissioning a new website as it can add significant value to your online presence.
Development projects should spend 10% of their budget on usability. Following a usability redesign, websites increase desired metrics by 135% on average.
Return on Investment for Usability by Jakob Nielsen.
Below are a few common usability blunders and how to solve them.
Every page (except for the homepage) should have an obvious link back to the homepage. The words “Home” should be used in the majority of cases. Other ways can be used as well, but these should be in conjunction with an explicit link.
The company logo or site banner should be placed in a prominent position at the top of the design – convention tends towards the top-left, and user-expectation dictates that the logo should link back to the homepage.
Navigation should be in a consistent, prominent position and be obvious of it’s function. The current active section should be highlighted sufficiently differently from the other links in the main navigation. The navigation should be clear and answer three questions: Where am I? Where have I been? and Where can I go?
Your homepage should clearly articulate who you are, what you do, what your site offers and why it is of value to users. This is usually achieved by a one sentance tagline/strapline which should appear in the site’s window title and on the homepage.
Content should be clear, simple and concise. Information should be easy to scan as findability is paramount in user experience. You should avoid using jargon and write using plain and easy to understand terminology. Lists and short paragraphs are quick to read and easy to digest.
These easy steps can vastly improve the usability of your website. Better usability will keep users interested and engaged with your content because their experience of your site was pleasant. Users will return often and are more likely to recommend your site.
If you have any other tips you wish to share with us, please place them in the comments below.