Usability must-haves

Usability concept in tag cloudWe all know the importance of a good first impression. When building a website, the same ethos applies. How can you ensure that the design and development processes centres around your user?

1)    Optimise for mobiles

We spoke last time about why web usability must put mobile first, but it bears repeating. Can your website handle the screen size difference between a BlackBerry and an iPad? Does your site load on a mobile device? Mobile traffic’s skyrocketing, and users will go straight back to Google if you don’t deliver quickly.

2)    Nail your navigation

Don’t let your web designer loose on your site until you’ve agreed a clear and easy navigation for your users. All your important information should be clearly signposted, and calls to action should be unambiguous and prominent.

3)    Make each word count

According to NICHY, web users have time to read 20% of words on a webpage at most. That means you must skip intros and get to the point. Keep all text to the left margin, and use bold text/subheads that include your content/business keywords. Bulleted lists are also a must to help both high literacy users “scan” and low literacy users “plow” through text, respectively.

Jacob Gube calls web usability “a marriage of efforts between web designers and web content writers.” He couldn’t be more correct.