When it comes to enhancing the overall growth of your website, a visually appealing layout is just one part of the equation. Usability is by far the most important factor that determines the success and the effectiveness of a website and hence, one should ensure the simplicity and ease with which a website is used and understood. Instead of driving visitors away with complex designs and poor design decisions, one must offer amazing experiences which lead to customer satisfaction.
Let’s find out what the most common usability mistakes are and how they can be avoided:
Eye candy and less usability happen to be one of the biggest disasters for a website. The modern trend of being content-centric has led to navigation items either left too discreet or completely hidden. Believe it or not, but the three click rule still holds true and all of that content that actually matter should be accessible in not more than three clicks. Hence, arranging your content in a manner that is easy to find and even providing the proper breadcrumbs and sitemaps, makes users return to it.
Issues regarding readability are among those that can completely ruin prospects of a web design. Primary factors such as proper kerning and arrangement of content, the colour of text, font sizes and spaces as well as the manner in which large amounts of text is broken down comes into play in a very crucial way. Moreover, the placement of content is another thing that really matters and one must remember that the heat map for a blog and that of a forum in an e-commerce website heat map in a magazine must be treated very differently.
Non-Responsive Web Design
A web design should always be mobile friendly. In an era where smartphones and tablets rule, almost every website’s traffic is dependent on them in order to enhance its usability quotient. This isn’t too much to ask for, as pretty good responsive and customization-friendly pre-built templates are easily available. If this isn’t good enough for you, an adaptive website is worth it too, one version for desktop users and the other for mobile users. This approach is usually useful for those websites which have a large amount of content.
Ignoring the Search Functionality
One of the worst things that could happen for your website is when users cannot easily search for content on your website. Limiting your search for only static pages is a major blunder. New items, blog posts and file archives and events must be within the scope of search within your website. Hence, a search box, and not just a search page should be included in your website.
Cluttering a Page with Content
When there is too much content in the form of text, videos, buttons and other elements, there is little or no breathing space within the web page to make any sense of anything that is present there. The practice to make more revenue with colourful and distracting banner ads usually removes the visitor from that which is actually important on the website. Hence, to be able to understand the value of white space makes the experience more satisfying and has the ability to achieve goals.
One of the most important things to remember while web designing is that infinite scrolling is not for everyone. There are those who read only that portion of the website which is visible on the screen without scrolling, on their first visit. This is why one should keep key elements of the page on the section of screen which is visible on first sight. However, one must also be careful to keep ONLY the important stuff which should not be too much of a burden to the visitor who may just bounce out with the amount of content.
No Help Support
Without a help desk, customer service or tech support, a visitor may not really feel comfortable using your website in case of an issue. FAQs are important too and users must by all means be able to communicate with you through the website. Hence, allowing them to report bugs and share an experience are all part and parcel of making your website a success.
When You Aren’t Keeping it Simple
Simple user experiences are what take your website to another level. If visitors expect something, give it to them. If the search bar is supposed to be on the right, don’t place it on the left; if they think a link is supposed to be green, don’t make it blue. You must by all means understand the psychology of the user and give them what they want and then you could add in that dash of sugar which would distinguish you from others.
Summing it up, all the above recommendations are not very hard to accomplish because good usability is all about best practices. They are meant to create an experience that is not only intuitive but also makes a good amount of sense for the user. While designing your website, you need to ensure that it is effective, easy to learn and has a sense of fun about it. A design element which only makes your website cool isn’t really enough. It must help your users achieve their goals.
Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing iPhone application development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lure him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.