Keep It User Friendly
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of ‘usable’ is ‘convenient and practicable for use’. Usable, a word that is important in everyday life, determines the amount of effort it takes to do just about anything, including use a website. (1)
A company’s website is the first thing a customer will go to when the physical store is not available. The website must be even more inviting to make up for the lack of human interaction. Like a store, the website must be easily navigable and give all relevant information a customer would need before deciding to make a purchase.
If the website is not easy to understand, the customers will become impatient trying to find the information they are looking for and ultimately choose a different company.
The information on a company’s website should be easy to find, and easy to understand. A good website should show 80-90 percent of what your customers are looking for right on the homepage, or at least have a clearly marked tab that will take the customer to that information. The more a potential customer has to hunt, the less “potential” they become.
Customers do not want to be reading a novel to find important information about a product or the company. Customers are willing to scroll through web pages, but their patience is low. If they don’t find the content quickly while skimming, they will leave.
Do not be afraid to put information like price, address, and contact information on your website. That is usually the most important information a customer is looking for. If there is no price, they aren’t sure how much they would have to spend on your product. If there is no contact information or address, they won’t know how to buy the product from you. A website is meant to answer questions a customer has, not create more questions. (2)
Once you have cleaned up the content on your company’s website, make sure the layout of each page is just as easy to understand. The best way to ensure a webpage is easily viewable is to have a responsive website; a website that grows and shrinks to fit whatever size monitor it is being viewed on. This allows customers to click through your website on a phone, tablet, and desktop with no problem.
White space on a web page is okay. It breaks up the text and images, and can improve readability and website performance.
The layout of each general page should be the same to avoid confusion. A different template for each page would require the customer to “learn” how to read each page and where their eyes should be looking. Keeping all of the pages streamline will allow customers to click around from page to page and find the information they want in a timely, user friendly manner. There can be a different page template for sections like news, events, and a blog, but other than very specific pages as those they should all look the same. (3)
The amount of time it takes a website to download plays a big part into whether customers will stay on the page and wait for it to be viewable, or continue onto the next company’s website.
If your website is experiencing slow download speed, make sure there are not excessive amounts of large or animated graphics. Each page should be as small as possible and most of the time those graphics don’t add anything to the page except increased download time.
Large tables should also be avoided. They are not meant to be used as a page layout, and if used incorrectly, can affect how the browser displays the page.
Much like a customers’ dislike of heavy text, the website doesn’t’ like it either. A page full of text is can have the same effect as large graphics or tables and create a slow load time. (4)
The usability of a website is a reflection of the brand, the employees, and the company overall. In order to keep customers happy and potential customers coming to visit your company, it must be easy to use.
Article 1: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Article 2: Most Important Web Usability Issues
Article 3: Usability Checklist
Article 4: Usability Problems