The Beginner’s Guide to Website Usability

Eric Kazda  |   August 1, 2018   |  Posted in Tips

The importance of website usability cannot be overstated. Better website usability leads to better outcomes for both your business and your overall user experience. If you’re new to the concept of usability on a website, start your education here.

What is Usability?

Usability is an attribute used to measure how simple it is for a visitor to interact with your website. It is a main contributor to the entire user experience (UX). Every website should strive to improve their usability. Better usability leads to more positive outcomes in traffic and conversions.

Nielsen Norman Group groups these five components under usability:

  • Learnability – Can a website visitor easily use your site the first time they visit?
  • Efficiency – How fast could a visitor accomplish specific tasks?
  • Memorability – Could they visit again at a later time and still remember how to use the site?
  • Errors – Are errors easy to avoid and if errors are made, how easy is it to fix those errors?
  • Satisfaction – Is using the website an enjoyable experience?

Why is Usability so Important?

If a user can’t interact with your website, they will leave. There’s enough content and products on the internet to give them other options. If you want visitors to stay on your website long enough to reach the end of your sales funnel, your website must invest in usability improvements.

(There’s also evidence that poor usability causes damage to more than your bottom line. Check out our investigation of Hawaii’s false missile alert.)

3 Common Usability Problems

We’ve compiled some of the main usability issues on websites so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

Slow website speed

No matter what culprit is causing your slow website speed, visitors won’t stick around if they have to wait for your site to load. The expectation is always that the internet should provide instantaneous results. If your site even has a 1-second delay, or even worse – downtime, that can hurt conversion rates.

Broken links and the lack of responsive design are two other basic accessibility issues.

Cutting-edge design

We’re all for pushing the boundaries of website design in the name of creativity. But you have to make sure it’s easy to navigate for a first-time visitor. There’s a number of expectations a visitor may have when they visit a site. They expect that the classic hamburger symbol means menu. They expect to click your logo to go back to the homepage.

Find ways to improve the design without ignoring visitor expectations. For specific navigation improvement techniques, see our infographic here.

Lack of credibility

This B2B Web Usability Report from KoMarketing contains invaluable information. They highlighted that one of the main areas websites can establish credibility is through their contact information. Check out some of their statistics:

  • 44% of survey respondents claimed no contact information would make them leave a website
  • 54% claimed that lack of thorough contact information would reduce credibility
  • 64% expect to see contact information listed on your homepage

Visitors have to trust you before buying your product or service. Establish that trust through a simple change of adding your contact information to your website.

Usability Tools to Get You Started

Testing usability can be as simple as asking someone who hasn’t interacted with your site before to complete a few basic tasks. Then review their feedback about how simple it was to complete those tasks. It’s important to rely on data and outside feedback to test usability to avoid biased results.

Here are some tools we found that can test your website’s usability.

Pingdom – test your website’s speed for free

Usabilla – this tool allows you to get real-time feedback

Crazy Egg – get access to tools like heatmaps and A/B tests

Try my UI – See videos of real people interacting with your website

Did we miss any great usability testing tools? Let us know in the comments!

Key Takeaways

Improving usability on your website will help you increase traffic and conversions. There are so many details that go into the user experience, but the best place to start is to test your current website. You can then apply that feedback by making necessary improvements. What are you waiting for? Start improving your website today!

Webpage building and software technology development
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Eric Kazda

Eric Kazda is a leading expert in the interactive development industry with over fifteen years of experience. With a mastery of critical development technologies, Eric has crafted innovative award-winning work for clients both large and small. Coupling this knowledge with a real world understanding of usability and technological feasibility, his work is developed to be accessible by every user.