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Usability: An Often Neglected Essential

May 23rd, 2006 by John Britsios in Usability

You may have taken great pains to make sure that your site is perfectly validated, checking, fine tuning and checking your HTML and CSS again and again and think that your site is finally ready to go live. However, what if your site’s usability isn’t up to snuff?

Your site may be valid, but this won’t mean anything to visitors who don’t find your site easy to use.

So what is usability? It has to do with the user experience your website offers; and user experience is everything on the web. Visitors won’t stick around if your site is difficult to navigate and doesn’t clearly spell out what your business is about and what your site has to offer visitors. If you fail to deliver on any of these counts, people go elsewhere, simple as that.

There is a very simple rule of usability which every webmaster needs to keep in mind: don’t make your visitors do the work. No visitor is going to take time to learn how to use your site – there are plenty of other sites (your competitor’s sites, for instance) which they can visit instead.

In order to determine if your site measures up on the usability scale, as yourself these questions:

  • Is your site’s interface intuitive, not requiring the user to learn how to use it?
  • Can visitors easily navigate around your site to find what they’re looking for?

You’ll have an easier time attracting repeat visits when your site offers a user-friendly interface; visitors will also stick around longer on your site, greatly increasing the odds of a visitor doing business with you. As long as you keep in mind that your site should do the work, not your visitors, you’ll see more traffic (since search engines tend to reward usability) and a healthier bottom line.

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