Now that you have decided to get a website designed, no matter what its objectives, you need to start thinking about what it is that you want your website to project. Do you want it to come across as a visual artifact or an extremely usable online resource. If you want the former, then let me tell you that your website will grab eyeballs, but whether it can do anything else, is best left up to conjecture. But, if you are going for the latter, there is very little doubt that usability oriented websites work big time for the target audience.
Let’s face it, website visitors have reached their limits of saturation, when it comes to visually appealing websites.The much publicized capacity of such websites to hold the user’s attention and guarantee a high conversion ratio, is a thing of the past. Today, usability is everything, as website visitors are no longer looking for websites that look good. All they want, is a website that gives them the information that they need, in clear, concise and extremely usable manner.
It’s all about usability and here are a few ways that will help you improve the usability of your website:
Don’t Abuse Design Elements
Each and every design element is a work of art. As a designer, you should ensure that the various design elements (necessary for projecting the website’s message) are chosen with care, and offer a unified impact. What’s also important is that you don’t go overboard with the use of the design elements and graphics. Excessive graphic usage, just to improve the site’s visual appeal is a zero sum game. It will offer you no dividends. In fact, if a website is flooded with visuals, it will only serve to confuse the visitors. So, use decorative elements, but keep the usability factor in mind.
Brainstorm the Workflow
A user is going to perform a series of tasks on the website. The user must be able to accomplish these tasks easily and without any problems whatsoever. What this means is that you need a clearly defined workflow that ensures that there are no impediments while the user is performing specific tasks like searching for products, going through the payment cycle, registering an account, browsing categories or filling up a form etc.
Where the designers are prone to going wrong is that they believe, if they have understood a particular design or work flow, the target user will understand it as well. But this is wrong. They have to think about the workflow from the user’s perspective. The key here is focusing on goal oriented navigation. The formula here is pretty simple – Usable navigation = Efficient Workflow= Usable Website.
Putting in Place a Feedback System
Usability is not a one off thing. This means you need to keep working on improving the usability of your website. You can’t just design a website and then forget about it. You need to make changes to the website in order to improve its user engagement. But for this, it is necessary that you are able to get feedback from your website visitors. So, it’s important that you put in place a clearly defined mechanism that allows you to get feedback from website visitors. Moreover, just instituting a mechanism is not enough, what you also need to do is create an environment wherein, a user is persuaded to leave his/her feedback.
Think along the lines of what would tempt/persuade/force you to offer your feedback for a site that you have visited. Zero in on those design elements that will get a reaction out of the website visitors. So much so that they post a feedback on your website.
So, here they are, the three ways that will help you make your website more usable. It’s important that you keep trying out a variety of design elements, techniques and strategies for developing your website and improving its usability level. The more usable your website, the better it is for your website’s popularity.