Is Your Site Usable?
Here’s a simple checklist to see if the usability on your site adds up. Be Honest, your results are for you.
It doesn’t need to overwhelm the page but it should be clear and easy to spot and the user should be able to identify it as the company logo/ site name. *4% of websites put their logo in the top left corner, and that is where users will look for it.
Is the page or section title easy to spot and read on every page?
Who you are, what you do and what services you offer?
Is the font size big enough? Can it be read easily against the background?
Anything over a couple of seconds will lose your audience. Slow load times also make a site seem less professional.
Your home page should be understood within 5 seconds and you should be able to easily know where to click next in this time.
Studies show that most people don’t even look at the images on a site, so does it make sense that they are there? Copy should support image content. Are they of good quality and easy to see what is pictured?
People don’t read on the web, they scan. Omit needless words, isolate important content, use bullets to font size to establish what people need to read.
Web conventions put contact info at the bottom of the page, so many people will look for it here. If you do not put contact info on the homepage, that’s ok, but a link to a contact page should be very easy to spot.
Typically your user will first look at the top of the page to find a navigation bar, or down the left of the page (although this is more often for page specific navigation). Your navigation bar should stand out visually from the rest of your content.
Do you have a clear idea of where a link will take you?
Navigation should stay in the same place on every page. You can tailor navigation to each page, but the main elements should stay in the same place and be called the same thing on every page. Ditto for your logo and page titles.
Generally over 7 links in the main navigation is overwhelming for your user. Too many choices actually paralyses your user and they will leave your site and probably never come back.
When the page first opens do you know where to look or do you feel overwhelmed by all the choices? Your site should use visual clues to help users understand where to look first, second and third.
If your pages all seem to fit together it will be much easier for your user to navigate. Once they digest the homepage they will have a sense of how the site is structured. Remember, if you stray dramatically from your theme your user may think he has landed on another site.
The HTML page title is what appears at the very top of your browser above the URL. These can be very helpful in identifying your site especially when, like most of us, your user is browsing with many windows open. And these titles are critical to your search engine optimization.
You may not know this, but web conventions use your logo as a link back to your homepage. Some even do it without realizing it! This alleviates the need for a home page link in the navigation, allowing you to have more options.
Many sites have rotating banners or other flashing objects. This works if they are used sparingly and do not distract from the rest of the content. As a rule, nothing should move on the site within the first 3 seconds, and all moving objects should be easily ignored by the user. These should automatically stop or give the user the option to turn it off.
People are very used to surfing the web these days, and it is no longer too important that a button looks like a button, but clickable text and buttons do need to be distinct from other non-clickable objects.