Usability consists of the English words “to use” and “ability for ability”. It thus describes the usability or quality of a website. Usability, therefore, ensures that your website visitors can quickly get to the content of the page they want to see without any problems. So it is about the most intuitive use of your page by the user. The following components are available:
- Clarity in design
- Meet the users’ needs
- Ease of use of the site
The goal here is, make the user’s visit to your website as easy and unproblematic as possible. The more uncomplicated this visit is, the more likely it is that the visitor will be satisfied and will return. A high degree of usability, therefore, has a lasting impact on the interactions of the users with your site.
Usability is made up of different factors, all of which influence the user-friendliness of your site.
These are the usability classics.
Some elements have been established and proven in connection with usability. An absolute classic in terms of presentation is, for example, that the company logo is placed in the top left and the user can click back to return to the homepage of the website. Another typical feature is a navigation bar horizontally at the top of the site and a sub-navigation that runs vertically. In addition to these basics, other elements have become established. This includes:
- A breadcrumb navigation
- Relevant links, such as contact and imprint, in the footer
- Important information Above the Fold
- The slider on the start page, tease the sub-pages
These elements are not only proven but also anchored in the minds of the users. You are, therefore, almost expected when someone visits a website. So it is essential to incorporate them to improve your usability.
What do you need usability for?
The following scenario: A user visits a website. There you will find, for example:
- An overloaded landing page
- No intuitive operation and side guidance
- Too many distracting call to actions, GIFs or moving elements
- A malfunctioning or inconsistent navigation
- No longer return to the homepage via the logo
- Icons that are not understandable and are not labelled
Consequence: The visitor is deterred and leaves the site early without taking any action or conversion. The website is not intuitive to use, which leads to user confusion. He is, therefore, dissatisfied and tends to be upset.
This is precisely the opposite of what should be created by usability.
If you pay attention to the excellent usability of your website, this ensures that your visitors are satisfied and convert. At best, they are even so happy that they make a recommendation to friends and acquaintances. This can be done in a direct conversation, but also virtually. If the visitor links you to his website or on social media, this has another positive effect: backlinks.
These factors are the basis of usability.
There are three main pillars of usability:
- Loading time
The intersection of these three forms ideal usability. All three elements are the basis for a user to interact with your website without any problems. They have to be closely interlinked to produce the best possible result and the highest possible usability.
The design is the point that catches the visitor’s eye first. For this reason, it should be designed to be appealing and clear. You must address different habits of website visitors and incorporate them into your design. The design and thus, the placement of relevant elements should always remain the same to create familiarity. For example, it is common for the logo to be placed in the top left corner and for the navigation to be visible on every landing page of a website. Also, fonts should be legible, which means that you should know both the font and the font colour worry.
An excellent visual representation is the beginning. But that does not help you if you have nothing to offer in terms of content or if the user cannot found the appropriate content. This means not only the content on your website, but also the intuitive and problem-free acquisition of navigation and other control panels. Also, the individual categories and subject areas of your page must be clearly labelled, as well as icons, graphics and images. This is so relevant because otherwise, it can lead to confusion on the part of the user. This should be avoided in the course of usability. When naming, make sure that the terms are not too abstract and familiar to everyone are. This helps visitors to find their way around, and they do not have to question what this could mean.
The loading time of your page is a central and decisive point when it comes to how satisfied the users were with the visit to your website. It is therefore essential that you optimize them. Find bugs that may hurt your page load time. For example, this could be an overly elaborate design that leads to problems with the poor performance of Internet connections or on mobile devices. Also, videos that start automatically, for example, could cause delays. If there are waiting times when building the website and its content, the probability that the visitor will jump off again is very high. So make sure that your page is as possible data volume-friendly. So your users shouldn’t have any problems with the loading time.
That brings you the optimization of usability.
Usability is essential for your success on the Internet. The most apparent advantage of good usability is distinct: your website visitors are satisfied. However, the benefits you have from this can be divided into two areas. On the one hand, there are positive effects on your website itself; on the other hand, there is the benefit from an SEO perspective.
Benefits for your website
If the website is user-friendly, it is visited more often. This affects the length of the visit. Since your website is in most cases, the first contact to potential customers, partners or future employees, it is essential to leave an impression. The usability of your site often has a significant impact on how your company looks to the outside world. Positive user experience directly creates a closer connection and a more positive attitude to your company and the brand.
Benefits for SEO
Good usability increases the length of time that users stay on your website, and there are fewer early jumps. This lowers the bounce rate. Both are factors that the search algorithm evaluates when it comes to ranking websites. A user-friendly site is usually rated more positively and thus has a better ranking position. It also has the effect of recommending and sharing these websites to friends and acquaintances more often. This increases your chance of backlinks.
The most common usability errors and how to avoid them
ERROR 1: You do not rely on mobile optimization
One thing is clear: You cannot avoid the mobile optimization of your website. Mobile-friendliness is one of the ranking factors and is rated highly. This is mainly due to the increased number of smartphone accesses to websites. However, the attention span that a user gives you on the go is relatively small. It is all the more critical that usability fits.
Therefore, you should make sure that fonts and font colours are also legible on mobile devices. Otherwise, this leads to a high bounce rate. It is best if you rely on the responsive design of your website. As a result, the displays always adapt to the corresponding end device without you having to provide another mobile version of your website.
You should also take into account that buttons and images are equally recognizable. With pins, in particular, they mustn’t be too small. Otherwise, the user could click next to them and get angry.
ERROR 2: Your information architecture is junk
Well, junk may be an exaggeration. But at least it’s not good enough that users can’t find some products or information, and that’s bad. For example, make sure that your users can easily understand them. A thing is often not seen simply because it is not apparent to the user why it is in a particular place. Think outside of your company structure and somewhat objectively to make clear assignments. A search function on your page can also help to ensure that content is not spilled.
ERROR 3: Names of your categories or links are too similar or even double
Similar to the previous section, this is about ensuring that your users understand what is meant without any problems. This also means that they are not confused by duplications. This means that you should name all elements as clearly and clearly as possible. Two issues emerge in particular:
- Links with similar names that ultimately lead the user to entirely different content.
- Content that is similar or even the same, but that for some reason can be found on different pages.
This confuses the user and usually leads to a jump from the website.
ERROR 4: Your users are facing pure text deserts
Nothing is more exhausting than reading pure body texts online. This discourages the website visitor and brings no added value. Reading across the web is very popular. Users roughly scan the website for the information they want to receive. Therefore it is helpful if you visually loosen up your texts. In this way, you can convey the critical message to the reader more quickly. The following will help you:
- Headings and subheadings
- Bullets and Lists
- Highlighted keywords
- Short paragraphs
You can also work on the language style to make reading the textless strenuous. The avoidance of passive and box sets here is a central point.
ERROR 5: The structure of your website is not consistent
One of the top rules when it comes to usability is consistency. Habits and structures must be continued and not interrupted. You must, therefore, try to meet the user expectations with the design of your website and stick to standard patterns.
ERROR 6: You do not respond to the feedback or user questions from your visitors
If you get feedback from your website visitors, you should accept it urgently. They are the central linchpin of your website, and their opinion is crucial for their success. Since users are often on the Internet with a specific destination, it is essential that you pick them up there. You can include frequently asked questions in FAQs, for example, or deal with them directly in chats.
ERROR 7: Your visuals are more confusing than helping
Icons, pictures and graphics are great, mainly because they can loosen up text deserts. However, they do not bring you or the visitor anything if they are not understandable. Make sure that what you want to express is always clear and unambiguous. Try to look at the representations objectively and from the user ‘s perspective.
How to test your usability
Usability testing is especially important to see where you can increase user-friendliness. This allows you to optimize your weak points in a targeted manner. With systematic examination, you can minimize the frustration potential of your website. There are several approaches you can work with.
What test methods are there?
There are numerous and different methods that you can use to test the usability of your website. Depending on your budget and previous knowledge, you should consider which one you choose. Testings can often be combined. The following are the most relevant test methods:
- Card scoring: As the name suggests, this method gives test person cards with terms that they should then group. This allows you to see which categories the potential users would categorize and whether they assign them in a similar way to how you would have done them.
- Personas: This is the ideal-typical user model. They should show you how a potential user deals with your website and what intentions it has. This allows you to build up your landing pages accordingly.
- Diary study: With this measure, test persons record in a diary how they found the experience with the website. From this, you can conclude the potential for improvement.
- Contextual interviews: These ensure that you get an insight into the behaviour of users in a familiar environment. You ask subjects about specific points and study how they accomplish their tasks while they are in their natural habitat. You can then conclude how external influences affect the handling of your website.
- Synchronous / asynchronous usability tests: The behaviour of users is examined in two situations: with active and with passive participation.
- Eye or mouse tracking: While eye-tracking measures the gaze of users, mouse tracking looks at the mouse movements on the website. Both aim to analyze and evaluate the handling of the site. You can then take a close look at which elements of your page attract a lot of attention, what attracts the user and where you can improve.
- Focus group: A focus group is a moderated group discussion. This gives you direct feedback, requests and suggestions on given topics.
- On-site survey: These prompt users to give feedback directly while visiting the website.
- Rapid prototyping: You involve volunteers during the development phase. They get access to the prototype and already give you feedback. You can use this to make optimizations during development.
When is a usability test useful?
The answer is straightforward: almost always. Through regular tests and observations of your users, you can individually optimize your site and its usability. This is possible both in the development phase, but also when the website is already live. It helps you to understand the needs of your website visitors better. There are three specific points you can do a usability test for:
- For testing prototypes
- Product development
- Optimization of existing products
This results in different areas of application and test objects that you can use in a usability test.
Usability and user experience, or UX for short, are two terms that are often confused. The areas of application are entirely different. When usability is about the user experience, while UX with the user experience is concerned. Usability thus ensures the usability of a website and ensures that users can operate the website intuitively and efficiently. User Experience, however, has the goal of visiting the website experience and sustainable experience.
Usability is always essential to make your website attractive and to improve its ranking. With the help of user experience, you trigger feelings and behaviours among website visitors and create a user experience that remains lasting. Both elements are closely linked and have a significant influence on the perception of your website and your brand. They also influence future user behaviour.