Nowadays, we've never had so much choice when it comes to web design services. What's more, they've never been more affordable thanks to pay monthly websites
Good usability and accessibility is a key metric to the success of any website. And yet, it's one that's often overlooked by website owners. There's often a difference between how a website owner views their own website vis a vis how they actually use other websites. Almost without exception, we use websites in a utilitarian fashion. We visit a website, and depending on the information we find, we perform certain actions, or just click back to wherever we came from if we haven't found what we're looking for. We become easily frustrated if the information we're looking for is not there, or is hard to find (if it's scattered over several pages).
All of the above behaviour centres around usability and accessibility. These are not visible qualities like design aesthetics, yet they are absolutely vital to the success of your website. If you look at hugely successful websites like eBay, Amazon and Google, they all have very conservative designs. They won't get high scores if viewed through the prism of conceptual design. However, that would be a highly inappropriate prism from which to view sites that are designed to make it as easy as possible for users to perform actions on their platforms.
Things that can get in the way of the visitor (and this is not an exhaustive list) :-
- Splash pages - give me the content already. Users don't need to see a huge stock art image with an "enter" link below it - they want to see your products/services. What's more, your home page is invariably the most linked-to page on your website, so search engines really value it. Yet, a splash page (the home page) has almost no content on it to take advantage of that, and rarely is the navigation on a splash page (so that value cannot be passed on to inner pages).
- "mystery meat" navigation - this is where navigation links aren't well defined - often they're images. Be clear regarding navigation links.
- keep the gist of each page above the fold - have a summary of the page high up the page so people can understand what the page is about and scroll down if they're interested
Always consider the bottom line when it comes to website design - don't frustrate your customers - let their actions be easy to achieve on your website.
Article kindly contributed by Liam Pedley Design