10 Tips For Maximizing Your Site's Web Usability

10 Ways To Maximize Your Site’s Usability

by Guest Post on October 28, 2010 · 34 comments

When a user comes to your website, they must feel that it is comfortable and usable. Designing for web usability means that you will do everything within your power to make it simple for your customer to part with their money. This includes making it navigable, consistent, and searchable. Here are ten guidelines for increasing a website’s usability and help boost your conversion rate.


1. Consistency: Consistency plays a part in both usability and your business branding. Make each part of your site internally with the remainder so that a user always knows where they are. Keep your navigation in the same place on each page, maintain your text style throughout the site. Customers should always be able to quickly and easily search for something, so make sure you have a search box in a prominent position (typically in the top right).

2. Forms: Most users accept that forms are a website’s necessary evil – they understand that you want to have their email address and name to make your experience personal. Unfortunately, there are some websites which take the use of forms to an extreme. If your reader must complete a form, request as few fields as possible and reassure them that it will be kept private and not sold on to other companies. Do you really need to know your customer’s phone number while they are browsing?

3. Make your site searchable: Place a search button in plain view at the top of each page so that your users can find relevant information quickly and easily. Perform tests on the search function and track queries to discover the relevance of answers. If a customer is searching for size three shoes, you do not want to have the search engine’s first result be an advertisement for socks – that’s just not going to convert!

4. Keep load times fast: The vast majority of your users won’t be on a super fast connection, so large graphics and videos will take a long time to load. Do not stuff your landing page with autorunning videos and loads of Javascript because the longer that your user needs to wait for your website to load, the more likely they are to hit the back button and never come back. Your readers want to access information in seconds, not minutes.

5. Checkout should be painless: The checkout process should not be a system of jumping through hoops – it needs to be a smooth process from start to finish. The customer should receive all the information and guidance they desire, without having the chance to second-guess their decision to purchase your product. If possible, institute a no-login checkout policy, where customers can give you their secured credit card information and ship-to address.

6. Use breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs provide a mini site map of where your customer or viewer is located within your website. Let your readers know that they are in a subcategory and make each level clickable so they can get back to where they were or navigate back up the tree.

7. Encourage feedback: Feedback is important for any website – blog or ecommerce store. In order to refine your design and sales funnel you need honest suggestions and recommendations from your users. If you want to boost the volume of feedback you get, offer users assurances that their details won’t be shared and give users an incentive to participate, such as a prize or freebies.

8. Let users easily distribute your content: Let your users have every available opportunity to spread the word about your great content or products. If you run a blog, give them easy to use Twitter and Facebook buttons, and allow them to subscribe to your feed at the touch of a button. Make sharing as easy as possible and let your users know that they can share your content with their friends.

9. Taglines: Taglines are used to show visitors the purpose of your site. When your readers step through your virtual doors, they should immediately know what to expect. Create a tagline which gives them an idea of the site’s functions and purpose and place this valuable information on every page, including your site’s landing page.

10. Look at your site through the visitor’s eyes: Evaluate each portion of your site as if you are visiting for the first time. Are all of the calls to action easy to understand and fulfil? Can you easily navigate between sections? Will users find it easy to work out where they are on your site? Can you search for desired content? Each of these factors play a part in overall usability and should be addressed to make using your website easier.

There’s no doubt about it: your site’s usability plays a vital part in your sales and page views. Take time to work out what’s wrong with your site, fix it and reap the rewards!

James Adams is a writer who reviews HP supplies at one of the top printer supplies companies in the UK, Cartridge Save.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrew@BloggingGuide November 11, 2010 at 9:53 am

I always try to look at my website through my visitor's eyes. It's also like putting yourself in their shoes. This way is really effective in knowing which to improve, which to do away with and which to stick to.
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2 Brian Rogel November 13, 2010 at 1:10 am

Hi Andrew,
That's a really good way to view your website. Another great way to check on usability is do some informal testing. Grab a hold of some people for a few minutes and sit them down in front of your website one at a time. Ask them to run through a few simple tasks and then note how they make their way through your website. I have actually found that many times other people don't react nearly the way I had envisioned them to in my mind.

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3 Jones Act Lawyers November 12, 2010 at 8:41 am

Very usable tips you have here. Maximizing the usability of your site is not difficult I guess, as long as the content is genuinely done and offers reliable and accurate content. Anyway, thanks for sharing the tips and information. It really helps.

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4 Brian Rogel November 13, 2010 at 1:15 am

There's actually a whole usability engineering field dedicated to software and web development. On a small website it may not make or break what you are trying to accomplish, but that changes significantly the larger it gets. Web usability is one of the most important aspects in increasing conversion ratios and ROI, and to a very large website even a small bump in ROI percentage can equate to a drastically different amount of profit.

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5 tom@ Make Up Mirror November 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Hi

Some solid tips and appropriate userability guides.

I ddont use breadcrumbs as Im primarily based on wrodpress but point 4 is well made.

Thanbsk for the article and best wishes

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6 Brian Rogel November 13, 2010 at 1:19 am

For the most part, breadcrumbs are not as needed until you are running a significantly sized website with a more complicated navigation structure. Point 4 is definitely important for usability. With the implementation of Google Caffeine it has also become a factor in search engine optimization.

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7 foto stampa su tela December 10, 2010 at 11:32 am

You've got great tips here. Thanks for sharing these useful information. Of course, you have to maximize the usability of your site by doing the right thing like having genuine writings.

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8 Brian Rogel December 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Very true, having genuine writing makes a world of difference. Thanks for the comment!

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9 condos in hyde park March 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I just love your blog.Thanks for posting it.it have something that someone comeback again..there is a lot of useful information a person can get frm here.I must say,well done
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10 James Langley December 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Hi Brian,

These are very nice tips to maximize usability of our site. I can apply this on my own site. Thanks for sharing!
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11 Brian Rogel January 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hi James, I'm glad you found the usability tips useful. Good luck with implementing the tips on your site!

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12 wireless reviews January 1, 2011 at 4:47 am

Excellent tips! Another thing I learned is not to use pop-up banners & in-text ads on my site , as most viewers tend to have negative impressions with these.

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13 Brian Rogel January 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I'm personally against pop up banners also, but I have also seen many studies done that prove their effectiveness for increasing subscriptions. It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish with your particular site.

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14 Dui Lawyers January 18, 2011 at 2:14 am

Excellent tips you have there Bryan.. It really pays to have your simple site improvement tricks be followed in order for your site to grow! I am really looking forward that you could post more tips here. Many of us wants for our site to improve and to be somewhat productive. i know with your good skills it would be a great help on us. More Power to you! and see you on your future posts.

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15 Brian Rogel January 20, 2011 at 12:28 am

I'm really glad you enjoyed the web usability tips James posted. We'll try to continue posting helpful information for improving websites and blogs. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comments.

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16 Sandy Gonzalez May 1, 2011 at 3:00 am

I would say the most important part that I concentrate on is coming up with a unique tag line that describes exactly what the blog is about. This one is so important if you want to attract repeat visitors and make your blog stand out above the rest.
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17 williegeorge33 June 19, 2011 at 7:51 am

Hi,

Tip #10 is something I always do. Looking at a thing through the eyes of the one(s) for whom the website is destinated is smart. I always look at my websites and products for the eyes of a client/visitor, it's very important to understand the client's needs. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

George
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18 waterpearls July 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Great post.Thanks for sharing the tips to maximize site usability.I really like all the 10 tips.
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19 Martin August 7, 2011 at 3:48 am

One thing i notice on a lot of blogs is that they're missing the category widget. So now i'm on their blog and i like what i see, i want to read more. But i have to keep hitting Next because they have no visible hierarchy and if i'm coming back tomorrow i'll have to keep hitting Next again till i reach the point where i stoped last time.
How they manage to get by like that is beyond me.
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20 Tom Johnson September 28, 2011 at 7:45 am

This blog is very informative and helps us to know how to increase our site's usability. Good tips given. Thanks for the post!

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21 Pete Goumas October 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

It is a very nice and informative post.Thanks for sharing 10 tips to maximize site usability.This post is helpful for many readers.
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22 Streaming serie November 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Thanks fro sharing the tips! I find your SEO related posts really constructive.

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23 BerkeyWaterPurifier April 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for the nice blog. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here!

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24 oklahoma lenders November 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

Interesting post. You have addressed so many issues that most bloggers do not adhere to. It is important for anyone who owns a site to make sure that the people who visit it leave the site happy and satisfied. Apart from making your site easy to find, one thing that many forget is the loading speed. If your site takes long to load then it might annoy the viewer and he or she will look for an alternative site. All the points on this post are awesome. :)
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25 ITV player December 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I think the best way to was usability and visibility is to have an content that is not duplicate and it`s very easy to scan.

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26 Ioana Radu December 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

Very useful tips. Thanks for sharing. I think number 7 is one of the most important way to maximize site usability. Feedback can be really useful.

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27 Aquaponics 4 You January 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm

The article is information wise.Number 10 is one of the most important thing to do on a website. You must see to it that when someone visits your, it must be eye catching that it can't be refuses to leave. Nice article….

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28 Cheminées bio March 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

"10. Look at your site through the visitor’s eyes". Ok. I agree, but I just can't do it

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29 radiateur April 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Thank you for posting this article! Your 10 tips are interesting and useful… Thank you again for the feedback… and I hope you'll post something new soon!

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30 singapore emcee May 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

It shows the commitment with your site and relation with your site as well.its understood that we have to work and give time to our site if we really want to make this popular on search engines.

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31 Scaune September 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

very interesting your post,thanks for information

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32 Echipamente September 28, 2012 at 6:21 am

I like your article it's interesting :)

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