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Three Quick Ways to Improve Your Website’s Usability

websiteusability

One of the benchmarks of a great site is its usability.  Usable websites tend to offer great user experiences and these experiences are what determine whether a customer stays on the site, leaves or buys your product.  A usable site helps ensure that your customers are not frustrated by being on the site.

So how do you make sure you have a usable site?  Avoid these three very common mistakes.

1. Creating different pages for one article.

Do not cut up your articles unnecessarily so that it has a lot of pages. How would you feel if you have to click 11 times just to read a top ten list?

Mashable violates this rule by making the reader click on several pages to read just one article.  This allows them to have a lot of page views so that they are able to charge more for their advertising space, but what really happens is that the reader is made to click over and over again.

Thankfully, Mashable corrects this by also allowing you to view it as one page, but not all sites offer you that option.

2. “Hidden links”

Your links are meant to be clicked, so make it obvious that they are links and are easy to click.  Facebook is very famous for violating this rule.

The shaded areas on this screenshot are actually clickable links.   One takes you to the permalink of the post, while the other takes you to the information page for that particular location.

Both links are not obviously clickable and very small.  If you do not hover over them and the underline appears, you would not even know they are links.

3. Content and design that make your eyes wander around the page.

If you have a lot of content on the page, then make sure that you have a good layout for the content so that your visitor’s eyes would not go from one area to the next.

You should be able to make the most important content stand out, while still making other valuable information available on the page.  Do not think that people would take time to sort out your content for you, trying to find what they are looking for.  You have approximately 30 seconds to let your visitors find what they are looking for, and then they would exit your site.

This is where the principles of a good landing page come in.  Format your page as you would a landing page; use a good layou and a design to highlight your most important content.

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