Have you ever heard of the term usability? The basis behind usability is simple: make sure the your website is as functional as possible for your customers. That’s it – easy, right? It’s good customer service and it’s a way to help your customers to find what they’re looking for on your website. If this is such a simple concept, why are there thousands of tutorials and websites that are dedicated to helping businesses achieve usability? The concept of usability is easy, the reality of usability, however, can be much more difficult. These tips, however, may help dramatically improve your usability level.
Before you launch
Have a new company? Just finishing a site redesign? Either way, a usability study is an absolute must before you ever even consider going live. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a difficult concept. The goal here is to get real users to test your design and find the bugs that might keep users from accomplishing their goals once they visit your site. You, quite literally, want to find out how “usable” your design is. If you’re an existing business with an email list, offer the chance to beta test your site to a few customers on your list. Attach a reward to the process, and you’re likely to get a lot of customers who are interested. If you’re a start-up, consider doing a little social networking to get some real users. Talk to Facebook friends or LinkedIn buddies who might be willing to take a closer look at your new site and see what they think.
So you’ve launched your website, that means you’re all done looking at usability for the site, correct? Actually, that is definitely incorrect. Usability should be looked at as an ongoing process. You should always ask your customers to get involved in helping you make sure that your site design is as usable as it could possibly be. Always ask for critiques and feedback on your site so that you can make any changes that are necessary. You may even want to offer some sort of reward for customers to give helpful feedback.
Upgrading the technology on your site can be fun, almost as much fun as designing a brand-new site, but you need to make sure that any upgrade you make is what is considered a progressive enhancement. You need to make sure that it all looks good at the core level, and that it’s usable for all customers. Imagine that you are incorporating CSS3 onto your website. Not all website browsers can deal with CSS3. This means that you’re going to be alienating some customers who have not upgraded yet. Make sure, whenever you do an update, the you are not distancing yourself from your customers.
Use your resources wisely
There are quite literally thousands of websites that are devoted to the idea of improving usability on your site. Some of the sites are highly technical, while others are more focused on providing little tips to help improve user usability. New research comes out almost on a daily basis, and staying on top of that research is paramount if you want to make sure that your website stays user-friendly. This, however, can be difficult as staying on top of all this new research can take a great deal of time away from your busy life.
Staying on top of everything can be tricky, which is why many people look to web design experts to help them with their website. It is the job of these experts to stay on top of all of this type of research, and utilizing them as a resource may be one of the best moves you ever made for your site. Aim to make your site as user-friendly as possible and to maintain it as often as you can and you will see a huge difference when it comes to the revenue made on your website.
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