How to Improve Your Website’s UsabilityApr 24
Usability is one of the key website characteristics which is often overlooked. To my mind, usability should be seriously considered on the initial stages of website building, because it defines the attitude and the behavior of the website visitors. But unfortunately, many website owners forget that their websites have been initially created for real people, and start focusing on search engine optimization. Of course, SEO is an important aspect of every successful website, but we should never sacrifice our customer’s convenience to search results. In this brief post I have gathered the most effective methods to make your website attractive to visitors.
A well thought out, logical navigation has always been one of the most effective ways to improve usability. Nowadays, when everyone is trying to be creative in what he or she does, the most common mistake regarding navigation is placing the menu in unpredictable (sometimes hidden) places. When you consider placing navigation bar, tend to use traditional places (below the logo, top of the page, etc.). Why? Because people expect to find them there. Intricate navigation can discourage your customers and make them never come back to your website again.
I’m always surprised to see that there are still many websites that don’t feature Search option. Put yourself in your users’ place: how can you find anything without the search bar? Other ways to improve search include creating categories and tag clouds.
Keep your posts concise, actual and well formatted. When posting an article think about modern reading habits: Internet isn’t a book, people don’t read in a linear way anymore – they read diagonally skipping whole paragraphs when hunting for keywords. Thus, to make your posts more attractive to your visitors, you simply need to:
avoid long prefaces;
eliminate unnecessary and/or distractive information;
use simple constructions, avoid long sentences;
use bullet points;
divide text material into logical paragraphs;
highlight important information.
Content presented in the form of graphs, diagrams and photos is worth a thousand words. Such visuals improve your articles’ readability and help understand complex things better. Use them to illustrate or replace huge written blocks.
Whether you offer your services globally or locally, you may consider offering your website’s content in multiple languages. You can either create full-fledged language localizations, or make use of the completely free automatic translating tools, like Google Translate, for instance.
Besides these key suggestions, there are many other ways to improve your website’s usability, namely creating mobile version of your website, offering live support, displaying welcome messages, etc. Yet one of the most effective ways to optimize your pages’ usability is to stay in contact with your customers, and listen to their claims and suggestions.