Website Usability Tips

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

It’s common knowledge that a website is there to deliver information and relevant products or services to the visitors yet for some reason website usability often tends to slip through the cracks.  Not only do you have to have a website that draws people in (through offline and online marketing efforts) you also have to have a website that keeps the visitor around long enough to convert into a customer.  While you may be offering just the product that the visitor is looking for, if they don’t stick around long enough to find the product or they CAN’T find it then the potential sale could be lost for good.  Great website usability will assure that visitors can quickly and easily find what they are looking for.

It Starts with a Simple Search

Why is the visitor at your site?  Because they are searching for information that they believe you may have.  This may be a product that you offer for sale, a service that you provide or some other bit of information.  The point is that the visitor comes in search of something—it’s your job to provide easy access to what the user is looking for.
One of the most important factors in website usability is to provide a search field that allows the user to quickly search the site for what they are looking for.  While they may have already used a search engine to get to the website, providing them with an additional search feature that allows them to search within the site will provide greater usability and help them to find the information they are looking for more quickly.

Relevancy

Relevancy is vital to the success of any website these days.  If a visitor searches for Green Jelly Beans and they come to your site (whose title and description states that the site is clearly about Green Jelly Beans) then you better provide some type of information, product or service that is relevant to Green Jelly Beans.  The title that you use should provide a clear understanding of what a website or webpage is about so that the user will already have an idea of what you have to offer before they ever take the time to search the site or review the content.  Don’t forget to incorporate the keywords effectively but naturally.  Nobody wants to come to a site that is clearly written to appease search engines without user discretion in mind.

Linking

For usability purposes, relevant pages within a site should be linked so that the end user can easily navigate from one page to the next and continue to gather the wealth of information that you have to offer on their specified topic of interest.  Another common factor to forget when it comes to website usability is the use of a sitemap.  A site map is a clearly categorized map of what the site has to offer the visitor.  Some visitors prefer to use a site map to find what they are looking for and ALL search engines will look at the sitemap as one of the primary factors in determining the level and significance of webpages within a site.

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