Have you received feedback that your web site is hard to navigate? Are your users “dropping off” your site after only a couple of minutes or page views? Do you sometimes get lost on your own site?
If so, take some time to focus on your site’s “usability” – the golden ticket to an engaging online experience. If your site visitors can find information quickly and easily, and feel comfortable navigating your site, you are one (very important) step closer to “converting” them – the industry term for getting a visitor to take action, whether it is joining, purchasing, subscribing, downloading, logging in, bookmarking, forwarding or returning!
What actions can you take to improve your site’s usability?
1. Revisit your site’s goals and objectives.
Why do visitors come to your web site? What information will users be looking for on your site? What information do you want your visitors to view on your web site? What do you need to get out of your site?
2. Review your web site’s reports.
Take some time to review your web site’s reports – the statistics on how your site is performing. This data can reveal a lot about your site’s usability. For example, you can find out what pages are losing your visitors. Also, you can see how long visitors are staying on your web site. These types of signals can indicate your site’s ease of use.
3. Fine-tune your site’s search function.
More than 90% of web users search during every online session. Users are comfortable finding information this way. Does your web site have a good search tool? If your web site is complex, can the search tool provide advanced search options? Fine-tuning this tool can be a valuable addition to your site’s usability.
4. Check out the competition.
Look at some other web sites in your industry. Can you navigate those sites easily? Is information readily available and easy to find? How do these sites compare to your own? Taking some time to evaluate your web site’s ease of use will put your business one step closer to having an effective marketing and selling tool in your web site.
Recommended Books on Usability:
- Designing Web Usability
- Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Ed.
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)
- Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design
- Handbook of Usability Testing: Howto Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests
Daniela Shuffler for New Target, Inc., a dynamic web site design, development and hosting firm characterized by strong and steady growth since its inception in 1998. Today, New Target is a full-service provider of quality, custom web solutions including web site design, application development, e-commerce, fully managed hosting, search engine positioning, email marketing, and content management and maintenance.