Usability 101

The premise behind web usability is simple: your web visitor’s goals are your goals. Making your site as user-friendly as possible can be complex, though. Read on for tips to make your site as usable as possible.

What Users Do

It can be easy to forget, but web visitors come to a site to do something. Users have goals in mind, and behave in certain ways. Users are always scanning – imagine scanning a billboard while driving 75 mph.

Here are key things to remember about the people who are coming to your site.

  • Glance, Scan, and Click. Users look quickly for things that they can do.
  • Users love mindless choices.
  • Users scan for sensible choices – anything that’s close to what they’re looking for. They’ll click, scan, go back, click again.
  • Users are learning, and are looking for consistent patterns to help them learn.

What Can You Do?

Within university sites, consistency is especially important. Users will be visiting multiple sites within our web presence. So, to give your site a fighting chance of satisfying web visitors, keep the following in mind.

  • Use accepted design conventions. This helps users to feel at home
  • Establish a clear visual hierarchy. Remember, users are scanners. Plan for this fact.
  • Use consistent navigation. Consistency helps build trust.
  • Provide clear and consistent actionable elements – help users do something.

3 Usability Rules to Live By

  1. Obsess about the web visitors. Their goals are your goals.
  2. Usability is about the web visitors. Test, test, test. Make sure your goals are the web visitor’s goals.
  3. Create actionable choices that are “no-brainers” for web visitors.
Find out more about web usability.