When designing a website in digital marketing, usability refers to the ease of use of the website. Website usability is important because it creates an impression for visitors who are potential clients of the company.
However, usability strives to ease the customer experience and make sure the system is running as efficiently as possible.
When determining how to optimize usability, there are ten components to keep in mind to ensure the website is easy to navigate and the customers can easily find what they are looking for.
1. Place the most important content ‘above the fold’ to enhance website usability
First, when a visitor clicks onto the website, they spend 80% of their time viewing the information above the fold and only 20% below the fold.
It is important that the most important content to achieving goals be placed above the fold because of its high visibility.
It should also grab the visitor’s attention and present them with enough content to keep them on the website.
2. Place the call to action above the fold.
Because the majority of a visitor’s time is spent above the fold, it is important to put the most critical information at the top, including the call to action.
Examples of calls to action would be “Buy Now!” or “Subscribe to save 30% off your purchase!” These are important statements on the website as they drive the visitor to become a potential customer.
3. Use horizontal and/or left-hand vertical navigation practices to improve website usability
Horizontal website navigation is a bar that includes a list of links at the top of each page. It is typically found above, below, or on either side of the header.
However, it is always placed before the main content of the page. It is also consistent on every page. This navigation practice is beneficial because it makes space for full-width images, left to right reading, and design flexibility.
Left-hand vertical navigation is a bar that lists links on the left side of each page. The benefits of left-hand vertical navigation for website usability are that there is space for more top-level links, link names can be longer, and adding additional links is simpler.
4. Easy to know what to click on/contact/call to action
An important component of the usability strategy is making the website easy to determine what is clickable. If an element on the website invites the visitor to complete a task, it should automatically take them to the page within the website to accomplish the task.
The website should also clearly state contact information. Because the website is selling a product or service, the company’s contact information should be clearly visible to the visitor. It is crucial to have clear calls to action, ensuring the visitor stays within the website and becomes a potential customer.
5. Include website credibility.
Visitors use key ques to determine the credibility of a website. Some of these cues include visible phone numbers and addresses, informative and personal “about us sections,” customer testimonials, and portfolios of past work. The purpose of including these elements in the website design is to have the site demonstrate high trustworthiness and expertise levels.
6. Avoid clutter
To increase website usability, it should have a clean design and be free of cluttered spaces. Some examples of clutter on a website include headlines and text for multiple news items.
Separate quick links for site features and an assortment of graphics for advertisements are also cluttered in the design. Instead, a user should be able to find what they are searching for or complete their task within three seconds.
7. Use breadcrumbs for user navigation
Breadcrumbs on a website are a type of navigation system that allows users to see their location within the website. The benefit of using breadcrumbs to increase website usability include the improved findability of the landing page.
Also, this allows the user to find higher-level pages faster and more efficiently. Breadcrumbs are typically depicted by the horizontal text links and are often separated by angle brackets.
8. Inform the user of the steps pending and time left to ensure good website usability
Website usability greatly increases when the user has a clear and visible idea of the steps pending to accomplish their task or the amount of time that remains.
The benefits of doing this are that it reduces the visitor’s feeling of waiting and assures the user that progress is being made.
9. Guarantee fast load times to improve website usability
Page speed is a measurement of how fast the page’s content loads and greatly influences overall visitor satisfaction and the conversion rate.
Slow loading times often lead to higher bounce rates and lower times spent on the page. The user’s experience should feel seamless and have little to no flash. Today’s current standard for loading time is less than two seconds.
10. Robust search best practices
There are several components in creating a robust search, and the first is including it at the top part of each page. It should also be labeled with either a magnifying glass or “go” and should include an autocomplete feature.
This ensures that website accessibility is the same for mobile users. A robust search should also allow refinement, meaning the search can be narrowed or filtered to produce a more accurate result.
In conclusion, by utilizing these ten practices when determining website design, the site’s usability increases, bringing many benefits to the company. These practices will ensure that users can find their way around the website and easily achieve their objectives.
Websites with high usability provide their users with the easiest route and with the least steps involved. When high usability has been achieved, the website will be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust to as many visitors as possible.
About the Author
Ahmed Abu Bakr is a Digital Marketing intern at the International Institute of Digital Marketing™. He is completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas. Loves to learn new things and is fascinated by Technology.