Within the industry of web design, the concept of usability has risen to the top as one of the most important elements that we should consider. A site that contains good usability can greatly improve the user's experience when they visit the website and can, therefore, be positive to the user.
In recent years startups have focused on a good sense of usability within their designs and this is essentially what has helped them grow to the point at which they are now. Keeping it simple, usability is important, however, the product also needs to be of high quality. Usability alone can't make a site succeed.
In the modern-day and age, it is quite often simply about thinking in a sensible way and in a way that others can follow. However, some web designers still have a hard time thinking in this way.
It is important to outline the mistakes that are made when designing websites, otherwise, if these mistakes aren't avoided, they can be having a severe effect on the conversions.
In this article, we will outline the basic terms for you. You'll see how certain aspects of your website going unnoticed can have huge effects on how the business performs.
Some site search engines are far too literal in their functionality and will overlook certain characters within the language such as plurals and typos. This can be difficult for everyone.
Another problem that search engines have is that they base their results on how many times the query terms are used within the website rather than how important the content is on that website. It would be best if the search engine had a small list at the top which outlines the results which had the best chance of meeting your needs.
Search functions are there for use if the user cannot find what they want and even simple searches can be beneficial.
When you are selecting a website’s typography, you should think about how the user will experience this text and should make it so that it is not necessarily beautiful but is usable and understandable to the user.
If you like the Nike font, for example, it doesn’t mean that you should use it on your website without making sure those visitors of yours are finding it easy to read.
Text that cannot be ready easily or scanned by the user can be a real problem. You can do simple things such as break the text into smaller sections and increase the line-height as well as the size of the font in order to make it readable.
In recent times, the focus has been more on the aesthetic value than on the functionality when using elements such as text on the website. This is wrong and the designer needs to focus on the functionality first, with no exceptions.
If it is set out wrong then this will have a bad effect and could lead to high bounce rates. The visitors most likely won't even let you know that they are having a problem, they will simply leave the site.
A good practice would be to set up the search form somewhere visible, add breadcrumbs, and you can even create an archive section of the site where people can easy find what they’re looking for.
Having strange navigation
This is another element that a designer should get right as a user will begin using navigation once they have read the headline of the website.
However, this is another issue that designers just cannot get right, either by offering too many navigation options or not having enough.
The first thing to remember is to try and have all the navigational tools in places where the user will expect them to be.
Don’t be an artists when designing your clients’ websites. Have usability in mind. If you want to inspire yourself, look at websites of startups from Germany. They’re known for not beating around the bush. They’re straightforward with their message and avoid lots of graphics and complicated elements.
Using small clickable areas
The issue of small clickable areas can be a problem and should generally be avoided, even if you wish to keep the font size small cause you believe that it fits in with the rest of the design. This can have a big impact on the site's usability and can make it difficult for visitors.
When websites are viewed on mobile devices this needs to become even more important as it can become extremely frustrating if buttons cannot be pressed effectively. On a mobile device, the buttons need to be far bigger so that they can be clicked easily.
Having large links that are easy to click on makes it easy for your users to navigate and creates beautiful websites that are functional and effective.
As an example of how it should be done, look at mobile app websites. They’re perfectly optimizing for mobile devices because on those page they’re advertising their apps. You wouldn’t download an app if on its site, the design wouldn’t be responsive, would you?
Not notifying users about what’s happening
Apparently, there's a trend of making users wait whilst websites are loading, or are carrying out other functions. This may take place when a large photo is loading or when the server experiences factors which make it run slower.
These problems are unavoidable and a user may have to learn to deal with them on occasions.
However, it is better to make a user wait by letting them know why they are waiting. It is for this reason important that you always let them know what is going on and why they may be waiting.
This can be done by displaying progress in a number of different graphical ways so that the user can see exactly what stage they are in when they are waiting for something to load.
Using page titles with low search visibility
Searching through Google is the main way in which a user will end up on your website and the page title is the first thing that they will see before getting on the page and the text of the title should be written in such a way to attract those visitors.
I mentioned this one because there are only a few characters that your visitor sees in Google search results and these few characters are very important.
All the pages on the site need to be named properly and they should be given short bursts of information that clearly outline the functions of the page so that the user knows exactly where they are on the website and what they are doing on the page.
Taglines that are placed on a homepage are also important and these need to be able to communicate with the user via quick bursts of information.
Not designing based on reading patterns
One important thing to look at when designing a website is the way in which we read as a person. Studies have shown that the user will generally read in an F pattern.
This has been studied and has now been conclusive in a wide range of different publications, from the web to print. The F pattern is used most of the time by users by reading from the left of the screen to the right.
Not making things simple
The trick in good web design is to keep things simple. Don't put things in places that your users won't expect. Try and keep things to a set of simple rules and don't break these rules. For instance, don't make certain things green when they should instead be red.
Think about the page structure that is logical and makes sense to the user and include information in lists, paragraphs, and headers to make it simple and effective.
Don't get carried away with using a multitude of elements and dropdowns in different styles which can confuse the user. Be fluid and consistent with the design throughout.
A good example of bad vs good in terms of the multitude of options that are offered is with free scheduling apps versus premium versions. The free ones try to offer a lot to their users and most of the times they fail miserably. The premium ones, however, offer a few basic features and focus solely on those. And this is valid for other types of apps as well.
Giving too many options
Having too many options for the user can be a disaster. It can lead to not making any decisions that translate to low conversions and high bounce rates.
This can be avoided by limiting the choices on the website and making sure the users are guided exactly where they need to go.
If you are offering products on your website then stick to the three best sellers and avoid overloading the page with information about other products.
The important thing about a good website is that less is more, so it is a good idea to remove anything that could distract the user.
At the end of the day, a well-designed website and a good sense of usability are all about making the user think less is more without any frustration involved. The website should clearly guide the visitors and should solve the problem that they have in a quick and effective manner.
Some other techniques mentioned above are not really hard to implement on a site and you should remember that high-quality usability leads to positive and rewarding results both for the website and for users.