Website Usability

Most companies are aware that a website is an vital tool for promoting their business and increasing their sales, whether they are selling tangible goods through an on-line shop or simply presenting their services to potential clients. To this end, companies are concerned about getting their websites high rankings in search engines and will invest time and money in making sure their sites meet the latest in SEO requirements.

They may also put emphasis on visuals on the site: slick slideshows; fancy animated menus; eye-catching graphics; and bright, vibrant colours. But one area that often gets overlooked is website usability. It won’t matter how high in the search engine ratings or how flashy your website looks, if it provides a frustrating and cumbersome user experience.

Just as a company will take its customers’ needs and wants into consideration when it is ordering new products or checking their inventories to see what is selling and what isn’t, companies should also consider their customers when designing their website so that a visit to the site leads to a problem-free conversion from visitor to sale or customer lead.

Website Usability touches on design, layout, content and even extends to where you physically host your website:

  1. How easy is your site to use?

    Do your visitors have to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out where to find things or how to progress from viewing a product to purchasing it? Is the site so complicated that each time a visitor returns they have to learn how to navigate the site all over again. Is the site layout inconsistent? Design features like logo placement, menus, footers, and sidebars should all be placed in the same place on every page so that moving through the site is fluid and familiar. If a visitor finds your website too difficult to use they will leave the site and have a poor image of your business. There are new technologies out now that can make a site easier to use as well, for example, jQuery and AJAX can be used to offer improved validation on a form so a user is told of errors as they fill out a form

  2. Is your site too invested in being unconventional?
    While you of course want your site to stand out from the crowd, it is important to remember that visitors also like a bit a familiarity when they visit a website. Certain conventions have been established in website design so that visitors arrive with certain expectations. Things like Terms of Use or Privacy Policies seem to have found their natural home in the footer of most websites and so this is where visitors expect to find these. Placing them in a flashy C2A in the sidebar might be unique, but it would not be helpful to your customers. Also make sure you have contact details readily available in a number of places on the site, as you want your visitors to be able to contact you without having to hunt and dig to find out how.

  3. Is your website presenting a credible image?
    One of the worst things that can happen to a visitor on a website is to click on a link with great anticipation and getting a 404 Page Not Found error. If you do not ensure that all the links on your website work, why should potential customers trust that your actual products or services will be reliable? If you decide to include a news article section or a blog, you should be prepared to keep it up. Viewing a website in 2013 and finding that the last news article was when the site went live in 2011 doesn’t instil confidence that any of the other information on the site will be up-to-date or useful.

  4. Is your website available and accessible?
    Closely tied to credibility is whether your site is readily available. There is no such thing as a server that NEVER goes down, but whom you choose to host your website with is important

  5. Do your visitors come away from your website wanting to return?
    You can be as creative as you want with your website layout and you can have lots of fun features and clever movement built into the design, but make sure that everything is geared to your visitors having a satisfying and productive experience. They must be able to find information quickly and without too many mouse clicks. They should be able to fly through a purchase as seamlessly as possible and be presented with all the relevant information they will need as they wait for their items to arrive. They should leave the site saying to themselves “I just love this website; it’s so quick and easy to use!”

  6. Is your website flexible and designed with your audience in mind?
    One of the current issues in website design is making sure that a website layout will be responsive to being viewed on different screens and devices. You need to make sure that you take this into consideration when you are designing your website.

    One of our main goals at iSeek.ie is to design websites that get a strong return on the investment the client has made. We want visitors to your website to be encouraged to purchase your products or avail of your services and a high conversion rate will result from a positive user experience.

    During our consultation process when putting together your website, we will make sure that website usability is one of the top goals and we will endeavour to provide you with a website that will give you good rankings with search engines, will stand out from your competitors and also keep your customers coming back again and again.

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