make your website usable

How to Make Your Website Usable

This blog part three on how to make your website effective. In my first post I talked about how to come up with a strategy for your site. In the last post I showed you how to come up with quality content to populate your site. In this post I’m going to talk about how to make your site usable because it’s not much good if it’s pretty, or if it has lots of custom content if your visitors can’t even use the site. Usable websites can be used by a greater number of people which ultimately leads to a higher chance of success in meeting your business goals. The same practices used to enhance usability also play a key part in ensuring greater search engine optimization (SEO) results and browser compatibility. Here are just four key factors to look out for that may be making your site unusable:
 

Broken Links

Broken links are frustrating for your users. When they click on a link they expect to go to something they’ve deemed valuable. Being greeted with a 404 “Page Not Found” message hurts your trust with your users, and worse; can indicate technical problems in general with your site. Whenever I proof content I take the time to click on every single link, to make sure nothing is broken. If you find broken links, figure out what wrong and fix them. If the content no longer exists, you can either remove the link entirely, or find a duplicate or archived copy elsewhere online.
 

Mobile Support

Mobile internet usage is set to surpass that of desktop. Ensuring mobile support is a must for maintaining and growing a user base, especially if you advertise your URL anywhere that people won’t be sitting in front of a computer. They will reach for a phone first, and a first impression is so important. There are two method for making a website work on mobile; you can make a specific site just for phones, or you can make the entire website “responsive” which just means it adjusts to different sized screens. This is usually the preferable method.
 

Speed

One thing we measure in our CURV analysis is the speed of the website, including factors like file size and application response time. Again, the goal is to not frustrate end users when visiting your site, and slow load times are a huge cause of frustration. Optimizing embedded images and making sure the web-server has plenty of resources to handle your traffic will go a long way to speeding up the site.

Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the preferred technology for building webpages; it allows you to separate the design from the content. CSS is what facilitates responsive design, and makes for consistent branding across the organization. The great thing about CSS is it gives you a central place to change fonts and colors that will be reflected across the entire site. If you’re still using the old style of <table> tags and implementing all the styling as tag parameters it’s time to upgrade to CSS.
 

Why Does Usability Matter?

According to this article the average business metrics improvement after a usability redesign is now 83%. Current usability ROI is so stupendously big (spend 10% to gain 83%) it just makes sense. Remember, the goal is to make the entire experience of visiting your website frustration-free!

We have some amazing web design wizards who can make sure you’re getting maximum ROI on your site, and that it’s usable for all your visitors. Just ask! We’re here to help.
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Author

Samuel O. Blowes, Director of IT
Samuel O. Blowes

Director of IT

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