For your website to be successful, it is important that is stays true to the principles of web usability. These principles include:
- Simple navigation
- Optimised graphics
- Non-linear presentation
- Ease of use
Simple navigation is important as it allows the visitor to successfully identify their way around your website. Simple, easily recognisable navigation that follows current conventions and standards will enable a user to understand their way around even if they have not visited your website before.
Optimised graphics and appealing visuals ensure that load times are kept to a minimum, and make your content attractive and encouraging to read. By ensuring a visitor has easy access to the content of your site, they are more likely to read it and navigate deeper.
Non-linear presentation is important as people read differently from a screen than they do from print. It is harder to read text from a screen, and many users will tend to scan text rather than read it comprehensively as they are more likely to do with print.
By using non-linear presentation, your content is divided up and broken down into manageable chunks of content which is far easier for the user to read and understand. Similarly, by ensuring pages are not overly long you can make the content far more visually appealing, consequently making it far more likely to be read.
Ease of use
User oriented characteristics for web usability include ease of learning – it must be obvious to the visitor what the site is about, and how to use it. Users should be able to quickly understand how to perform the task required for their desired outcome.
It is important that there is a low user error rate – this refers to any problems a user has in finding the information they are looking for, or have problems performing certain tasks. This information can be obtained by examining your site’s traffic log files.
Users should be satisfied with your website – this will consequently result in user retention over time.
Web usability can be characterised by a website’s effectiveness at achieving its set goals, the efficiency in which it achieves these goals, and the satisfaction with which users can achieve their goals.
Does your website adhere to the principles of web usability?