What is usability?
The usability of a website describes how easily it is navigated by different types of users, and how quickly and intuitive they reach their (and your business’s) goals. It’s an important theme in User Experience (UX) design, in which the needs of the users are at the center of every step of the design process.
Why is usability and having a user-friendly website important?
Markets are saturated all over, and this is why you as a business need to offer more than just your product or service to stand out from the crowd. If users can’t find what they’re looking for fast enough or run into any other pain points, you’ll surely lose them to the next in line.
Usability and having a user-friendly website leads to:
- a pleasant and intuitive user experience;
- a higher click-through-rate (CTR);
- a lower bounce-rate;
- more conversions.
In addition, search engines such as Google have a set of requirements that determine whether your website shows up in the search results. Think about your website’s loading speed (nothing is more annoying than a slow website) and your sitemap. This means that having a user-friendly website contributes to your SEO ranking and organic traffic.
What are the requirements for a user-friendly website?
What needs to happen in order for your website to be more user-friendly? Based on the following 4 usability factors, you can estimate whether you’ve thought of everything already, or if anything else needs your attention.
1. The website load speed is as low as possible
Your web pages load faster than a blink of an eye. Nothing is more irritating than a website with slow-loading elements and images. Also, very frustrating: lagging pages while scrolling, who has time for that these days? Time to get on top of the loading speed and avoid losing potential buyers.
Pro-tip: You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to quickly analyze any webpage’s load time.
2. Consistent experience across all devices and screens
Who uses only one screen these days anyway? We have smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even smartwatches. Therefore, don’t just invest in good tech and a sleek design for the desktop version of your platform. Make sure it looks and performs well on any screen size.
In the design world, we refer to this as responsive design. You can read all about it in this article.
3. A navigation that just makes sense
You know your website structure is spot on when users reach their goals without having to think about the steps. They navigate through your website effortlessly and without having to jump through hoops, they understand the functionalities and almost intuitively find what they’re looking for.
Good navigation is more than just a neatly organized sitemap. For example, the different elements must be recognizable, titles must be clear and scannable, and you are using colors and designs to guide the user’s eye to the important information.
4. High-quality content
When we start with content creation, it is often from an SEO point of view to increase a website’s ranking. The content, however, can be much more than that. A user-friendly website depends on the quality of your website. This includes:
Content connects your users to your brand by listening and creating an emotional connection through their needs. It’s important to know how to address your target audience and translate this to the right tone of voice. This gives the user something to identify with and gives your brand a personality. It’s the personification of your brand that creates that long-lasting bond.
- Increasing the readability
Readability isn’t just about spelling and grammar, although you certainly want to have those two in order as well. A text full of errors makes you look less reliable and damages your professional image. Usability typically goes hand in hand with accessibility. By paying attention to readability, you make your website more accessible to a wider audience. Here’s what to do:
- avoid jargon;
- use an active voice;
- shorten your sentences;
- use subheadings, paragraphs, and bullet points;
- highlight the important information;
- consider the font, font size, and spacing.
- Add value
We tend to write based on a keyword search. While this does generate organic traffic, it can negatively affect the bounce rate if you don’t consider your readers’ needs. The bounce rate shows how many visitors leave your website without clicking through. And of course, we’d like to see this number as low as possible. So don’t just write for the sake of writing, but actually contribute something valuable. Do you write blogs? Then carefully think about what knowledge you have, and how can this be relevant for your users.
- Be unique
And that is not the easiest part with a worldwide web that is overflowing with content. What are your USP’s? What sets you apart from the competition? What can you offer your users that they can’t find anywhere else? Both your competitor analysis and brand proposition form a strong foundation for creating that one-of-a-kind user experience.
How do you measure usability?
When you invest in a user-friendly website, you also want to know if it’s paying off. There are a number of questionnaires that you can use to measure the user-friendliness of your website among your users. One that is pretty well-known is the System Usability Scale (Brooke, 1996). The questionnaire consists of 10 questions and is based on 3 criteria: effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. It’s a quick and easy method for measuring your website usability.
But do you want to go big? Then invest in user testing and receive a comprehensive report based on tests using prototypes, A/B tests, camera/diary studies, heatmaps, and more.
What else do you need for a user-friendly website?
Make it Max is an experienced User Experience agency that has taken several brands to unprecedented levels. We’ve got all the knowledge and specialism that your project requires: researchers, strategists, designers, developers, and more. Take a look at our previous projects, or contact us right away for a no-strings-attached chat with one of our UX specialists, and we’ll let you know what you need for a user-friendly website.