Usability is a critical component of website user experience. While some people often confuse the two terms, it is worth noting that usability is one of the elements of website design and that it is measurable.
The usability of website design depends on its features, its function and the experience it gives to users. A website is usable if it has the following qualities.
- It is easy to use, even for the first-time visitor. For instance, if it is an eCommerce website, the buying process should be straightforward.
- It provide easy ways of completing the desired task. If the user wants a particular item, they should find it quickly and make an order.
- It is easy to reuse. If a customer comes for a second time, they should be able to purchase an item as quickly as the previous time.
Another requirement for website usability is an error-free interface, among many others.
It is advisable to conduct usability tests throughout the development process of a website. The feedback from test participants can prove useful in adjusting the project so that the website offers an excellent user experience when it launches.
Elements of Website Usability
Several factors affect the usability of a website, and the most significant ones include;
- Visual factors
The server is the computer that hosts a website. When a client tries to access your website, their computer sends a request to your website to grant access to the information on the site.
Two factors affect the performance of a server – speed and downtime.
- Speed – website usability is one of Google’s ranking factors. The speed of your server impacts the loading speed of your webpages, which in turn affects usability. A slow website is likely to get low traffic and experience a high bounce rate.
- Downtime – this refers to the time that the servers go offline and the websites become inaccessible. Although it happens for all servers, it is less frequent in some models. A website with regular downtimes provides poor user experience and is likely to generate lower revenue as a result.
The HTML you use for your webpages has a significant impact on the user experience provided by your website. Here are the key factors you should consider for your HTML.
- ALT tags – these are used to display information about images when visual content fails to load correctly. Search engine bots rely on ALT tags to know the contents of an image during the crawling and indexing processes. They are also useful for narration programs used by visually-handicapped users.
- 404 pages – broken links are prevalent on large websites. You should make sure that the design of your 404 pages eases the disappointment of encountering a broken link. The best way of doing this is by adding visual elements to the broken pages.
If you are a designer, you have control over the visual factors that affect your website user experience. These include;
- Font size and colour – your fonts should be easy to read. They should have a different colour from the background, and their size and style should also make them easily legible.
- Branding – your logo and colour scheme should be easily recognisable. The logo should be at the top-left corner of your homepage, as most people start reading from the left to the right.
- Layout colours – the colours you choose must be consistent with your branding. They should also show the hierarchy of your content. For instance, you can use blue on titles and green on subheadings.
- Navigation – users should be able to move from one page to another quickly. This means that your website needs a navigation bar, search functionality and a proper structure.
- Content – the design and quality of your content affects the overall website usability. Make sure that your content has several headings and subheadings, as well as short paragraphs to make it more appealing to the reader.
Website Usability Tools
It is easy to run usability tests for your website using a variety of tools available on the internet. Some are available for free, others offer a limited trial, and the rest require payment before use.
Regardless of your choice, you will get a tool that gauges the quality of user experience on your website and gives recommendations on where to improve.
The Elements of Website User Experience
As mentioned earlier, usability is an element of website user experience. Here are the key areas of a website’s user experience.
- Usability – it is the measure of how easily a user accesses a website and completes their desired task.
- Useful content – the information on your website should be valuable, relevant and easy to understand.
- Desirable content – content that evokes positive emotions improve the overall user experience on your website. It also encourages users to remain loyal to your site.
- Accessibility – you need to tailor your content such that it is available to all people, including those with impairments.
- Credibility –a site that offers security and privacy has an excellent user experience.
If your objective is to have a site with optimal user experience, you need to implement all the factors mentioned in this list.
Usability refers to the ease of use of a website. In summary, usability focuses on these areas.
- It should be easy to use the site, even without previous experience.
- It should be easy to complete the desired action.
- Users should learn the interface such that subsequent visits are straightforward.
The design of a website affects its usability. In this regard, the text should be easy to read and the content should be desirable to the readers. You should also look to improve the privacy and security features on your site.
Other factors that impact usability include server speed, HTML, and visual design elements. Your website should be fast, attractive and easy to navigate.
Lastly, it is essential to continually perform usability tests on your website. The internet offers a lot of tools for this purpose. This way, you will identify what is hurting the usability of your website and make appropriate adjustments to improve your website user experience.
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