Website usability is a term used to indicate the ease with which people can interact with a website. You don’t have to be expert website architect to understand there is a low tolerance for difficult designs and slow websites. People don’t want to wait. They want it easy. They want it fast.
Users must be able to use your website without even thinking. The internet is overloaded with information and a user is presented with a plethora of choices before they even reach your website. When a user chooses to click on a link that leads to your website (from a search result or other site), they will land on one of your website pages and it must engage them – quickly.
Website architects go by the general rule of thumb that a website has 3 to 5 seconds to engage the attention of a user. For this reason, a website must address a user’s need immediately. In short, does the website provide a solution to the user’s problem? Your website must answer this question without making people think.
For example, if a user is shopping for Pandora Beads for their bracelet and they land on your website, can they quickly identify that you indeed sell Pandora Jewelry? One way to capture a person’s attention is by making sure these keywords (graphical or text) are in the header, navigation, and content of your site.
In the context of engaging a user’s attention, the term “keyword” is a word or phrase the user can use to validate that your website is about what they want. Is your value proposition in the header (Largest Selection of Pandora Beads and Jewelry)? Can users quickly identify keywords in your navigation (Sterling Silver Pandora Beads, Most Popular Pandora Beads)? Are there keywords in the content (page title, sub title, and text)? If you use keywords correctly, users will click to other pages within your website.
After a user clicks to another page, another question arises: Is this website credible? As a user navigates through your website, their anxiety may begin to build as they look for indicators that tell them if they should be doing business with you. How long have you been in business? What are other customers saying about you? Providing a sense of credibility will reduce the user’s anxiety and increase your chances of earning their trust.
After you have accomplished the goal of engaging the user’s attention and have earned their trust, consider the following five questions.
- How easy is it for users to accomplish a task the first time they visit the website?
- How quickly can they perform tasks?
- When users return to the site after one month, how easily can they relearn how to use it?
- How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
- How pleasant is the site to use?
The information stated within this article provides questions you can ask to help make your website engaging, credible, learnable, efficient, memorable, and satisfying for people to experience. In a word: usable.