Evaluating Your Website’s Usability
When designing your business website, it’s important to pay attention to the way the interface affects users. Have you ever walked into a store, taken one look around and decided it wasn’t for you? Maybe it was the music, the lighting, or the attitude of the staff. Whatever it was, you were driven out of that shop and into one where you felt comfortable.
Even though the customer experience online is different, the same rules apply to your business website. Ask yourself, how comfortable are users interacting with your online presence? Here’s a list of criteria for evaluating your website’s usability.
Is It Simple to Use?
Is there a lot of superfluous text? Are visitors exposed to information irrelevant to the site’s central purpose? You want them to see only what they need to see to shop your store or learn about your business. This includes product images, pertinent video clips, succinct—but informative—product descriptions, pricing information and warranty details.
Does It Provide Breadcrumbs?
Can a user easily go back to a previous page if they need to? Do your forms show a progress bar so customers know how far along they are and how much more they need to do to complete them? Do links change color when they’ve been used? Do users get confirmation when a form is completed successfully? Do they get visual feedback to confirm their messages were conveyed when they employ your email or chat features?
All these features can be employed to strengthen the usability of your business website.
Is Copy Written in Plain Language?
Yes, a portion of your customer base might be fluent in the jargon surrounding your products or industry, but you want everybody to have equal access to the information. To guarantee this, keep language on the site in the realm of everyday people. Use words, phrases and concepts everyone can understand, regardless of their experience with the subject matter.
Do You Follow a Style Guide?
Do you follow a set of established conventions so things always operate the same way? Do all of your pages feature the navigation bar, call to action buttons and a search window? Have you set the parameters for image size, font type and size, as well as the usage of words to ensure they always have the same meaning? Does your logo appear on each page, in the same size and same location? Are users always taken to the home page when they click on the logo?
Creating – and sticking to – a style guide will help give your business website a holistic feel and make it easier to navigate.
Do You Provide Error Insurance?
What do you do to ensure users don’t make mistakes when interacting with your site? The best business website builder anticipates that users sometimes make mistakes and gives them clues so they don’t have to think. Does the site help prevent errors by guiding users and immediately informing them of errors when they occur? When errors happen, are they plainly explained so the shopper can try the process again with new information and guide them to success? Do you provide support in the form of chatbots, email, or technical support? Are these easy to find on the site, or do you make your customers dig to find them?
A robust business website builder will include many of the features you need to get up and running in no time. Plus, they should provide troubleshooting and support in case customers run into any problems.
Do You Help Visitors Remember Things?
Are there clues to help guide a shopper along the path to conversion? Are things logically placed and easy to find? Remember Clippy, Microsoft’s oft-maligned paperclip meme? While people loved to hate him, there’s no question he provided a useful service. Do you offer help to your online visitors?
Does Your Site Reward Returning Visitors?
Do your checkout pages remember shipping and billing addresses? Do the site offer shortcuts to help speed up certain functions? Does it keep track of previously viewed products or services and offer to take users directly to them? Do you allow customization opportunities for returning visitors, so they can get relevant information quickly and easily?
Congratulations if you answered all of the above questions in the affirmative. If there were queries to which you had to respond negatively while evaluating your website’s usability, you now know what needs to be done.
You—and your prospective customers—will be glad you did.