8 Ways to Improve the Usability of Your Website

Was your website truly designed to achieve the best possible user experience? Or did the designer focus more on creating a “cool looking” design? Most times, the latter happens, and without even realizing it, a company has a website that hampers usability, costing them conversions and creating a bad impression with potential customers.

Usability of Your Website

Thankfully, making your website more usable is actually easier than you might think. Here are 8 simple ways to improve your site’s usability.

1. Target the right keywords — Too many companies either don’t optimize their websites for the search engines or they target the wrong keywords. As a result, their website attracts low-quality traffic from people who are really looking for someone else. The key is to figure out which phrases your buyers are searching for so when someone finds your website, you have the things they’re looking for.

2. Clear navigation along the top or down the left side — Web users have come to expect to use the internet in a certain manner. One of their habits is to look at the top of the page or along the left side for site navigation. If the navigation isn’t in one of these spots, you can confuse the visitor, making it difficult for them to find what they need. Your navigation should also be clear, no cutesy or clever names.

3. Strong internal linking structure — Placing links throughout your website copy is a good way to keep visitors moving forward in a logical path. Just make sure these links serve a purpose and make sense in the context of the copy. This will help visitors quickly access the pages they’re most interested in.

4. Easy to scan copy — Online users tend to scan copy rather than actually read it one word at a time. In fact, they scan web content in an F-shaped pattern. To meet their scanning propensities, you need to make your copy easy to scan quickly by using lists, bolded phrases, subheads, and short paragraphs.

5. No distractions — You don’t have to cover every single available space on your website with copy or images. Repeat after me: White space is your friend. And less is usually more. So, take a look at your website. Are there any unnecessary elements that distract visitors and pull their focus away from your main message? If so, get rid of them.

6. Add a status bar to checkout process — Some studies have shown that up to 75% of all shopping carts will be abandoned. A common reason for shopping cart abandonment is that shoppers don’t know where they are in the checkout process or how much more they need to do. By placing a status bar on each stage of checking out, you let visitors know exactly what they have left before completing their purchase.

7. Separate pages based on subject — Having too much content on a single page can overwhelm visitors and make it difficult to find the information they need. By breaking up your content based on subject, you improve your website’s usability and give the search engines more pages to crawl and rank.

8. Easy to find contact info — Putting your contact info on each page builds trust and gives visitors a way to get in touch immediately without clicking to another page.

Does your website succeed in all 8 of these factors? What are some other usability tips you’d add to this list?

2 thoughts on “8 Ways to Improve the Usability of Your Website

  1. Make sure to always avoid reverse colors. Avoid white text on black background. Sure, it looks cool, but if you really want a user to read what is written they will get a headache. There is a reason why you see so many black on white and why we didnt use black notepads in school :D.
    Also, a new axiom in web design is making content easy to share, whether it is printing, email, and now facebook, twitter, digg, stumble, etc.

  2. You need to have every design element in place in a most simplified way. Your navigation, page layout, page order all needs to reflect that it is and has been organised and has purpose.

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