How Web Design And Usability Are Linked
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Imagine this situation; you’re on a website and you want to find out about the different services that a company offer. But when you arrive at their homepage you can’t spot the navigation you need to use and therefore can’t find the information you need. You’re left frustrated because you have to think about how to find what you need.
The source of this frustration is the the website design, perhaps because the navigation has been put in a position halfway down the page, or the colour scheme means all the CTA’s blend into the background, or maybe the size of the CTA's has left them almost unclickable. Either way, the user is left confused and unable to do what they came to the website to do.
To help you avoid these pitfalls, we’ve compiled a number of things to consider when designing your website so that your users aren’t left frustrated due to poor usability in your website design.
The way in which you position and organise elements on a page is important when it comes to capturing and directing the focus of your user's attention. By only including elements that will serve a purpose on the page and ordering those that are more important first and above the fold on your page, you can ensure they will be seen by your users as soon as they land on your website and their attention will be where you want it to be.
How users move around your website will depend on the structure of your navigation and if they can use it to get from where they are to the information they want to find. On the home page and throughout the website this navigation is one of those important features that should appear first and typically at the top of the page. The functionality should be simple with the pages going a maximum of three levels deep and it should be easy and clear to use.
Other ways you can make it more accessible for your user to move around your website is if there is a search option, a breadcrumb trail to show the path they have taken while on your website, links within the copy or CTA’s, however you don’t want to offer all of these all at once, as they can clutter the page.
You may have created a stunning design which is really funky, has all of these points and has plenty of shiny elements but if you have only made this with a particular operating system and browser in mind, when you switch to mobile, an alternative OS or a different browser your design isn’t going to look as fancy as you think it looks and its functionality isn't going to be usable.
You may be thinking “This is fine, our users won’t be coming from these sources, I don’t need to optimise the design for everyone” but with the increasing amount of traffic a website gets coming from mobile nowadays, it shows more and more users have this as a preferred device to use. This increasing amount of mobile traffic has lead Google to start indexing websites based on their mobile versions - meaning a poor experience on mobile devices can lead to poor ranking in Google search itself.
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This part can be a very creative part of the design, with the fact you can choose the types of fonts, colours and pictures that you think will work best for your site. However, you will want to make sure you don’t get too carried away. A website will often be in its company’s branded colours, however, depending on the colours that are involved in this the combination and in which you use them can make or break a website. Fonts you can’t read or dark and light colour combinations could mean that your website won’t be clear to the user. Once you have found a winning combination you will want to make sure this is consistent throughout the pages on your website.
Capturing User Data
Now you have a few points on how to make your website usable for your users, it’s time to cover how to make sure the design is just as usable for you and serves the needs of your business. A design that helps you capture leads is something you will need to consider in order to fulfil your business needs. By including forms, CTA’s and landing pages throughout your website design you will be able to utilise the website to capture new prospects.
Once you have all these aspects on your website you still need to be constantly and continuously working on and improving them over time. Adapt to how users are interacting with your website to better serve their needs and find new ways to acquire their data. To find out more about what users are doing on your website, you should track your user's behaviour when they visit your website and review this - analysing the data to see where you can make improvements to your site.