Website Usability

by Victor J. McCoy, Digital Marketing Strategist, 3V Design Media

No matter how sophisticated, beautiful and well planed a web site’s design, it is ultimately the user’s experience that counts most. If visitors or customers can not locate or purchase products or get the information they need then their will be a not only a usability issue but a website objective issue as well. Usability refers to the overall quality of a user’s Web site experience.  Did the page load quickly? Was she able to find everything she was looking for? Where all links “live” that is did they actually access other Web pages? Were all the more involved processes such as order forms and shopping carts, functioning properly? Was the sites navigation scheme logical and easy to follow? In short does the site do what it was intended to do and could the user figure out how to use it?” You may say when the website was launched “everything was working well.” The next question would be “when was the last time you or someone else checked the links and overall functionality of the website?” Broken links and other issues could be from plugins not being updated or because of the update. This can occur with WordPress websites.They can be caused by PHP run errors and many other code issues. All of these and others could affect usability.

Since the great promise of the Web is its enormous convenience, particularly in terms of speed, customers learn relatively quickly what they want to find, and if isn’t readily available on the site, they’ll simply move on.Your analytics report bounce rate can help you with that.  As reported in Fortune, according to the research firm Keynote systems, Web users grant a Web site an average eight seconds of download time before clicking away to another site – myself, it is around 4 seconds. However, website loading time is not always the fault of the websites design, it could be the customers internet connection. But, making sure your website has an acceptable load time is part of the customer experience and should be monitored.  Moreover, much research suggests that customers tend to be unforgiving of sites that fail to load quickly or provide an adequately usable environment, so sites that are too difficult for users to navigate or load may simply be written off altogether as customers develop loyalty to other, more friendly sites.

Does your website have usability issues?