October 15, 2009
Website Usability: Getting the basics right
Ranking highly in Google is one thing, but there’s no point in being number one if users land on your website and leave straight away. This is why it’s so important that not only is your website well optimised to appear at the top of Google for relevant search terms, but it’s also important that your website has a solid web strategy in place to ensure it is as user-friendly as possible.
When it comes to web strategy, sometimes you might need a complete overhaul of your website’s structure. Starting from scratch with a clean slate is sometimes easier than just continuing to tack things on top of an existing deficient structure in an attempt to make things simpler, when in fact things are just getting even more out of control.
However, if your website’s foundations are simple and efficient, sometimes all that’s needed is some basics that will help to improve the overall usability of your website. Here are a few basic tips to ensure your website is as user-friendly as possible.
- If you have a lot of pages on your website, it’s a good idea to use breadcrumb pathing to increase users’ situational awareness. This can help users easily find their way back through the path they just took.
- Make sure your headings are relevant and meaningful. Most users will just scan a page of text rather than actually reading it word for word. Therefore, help your users find the information they need by ensuring you use relevant and meaningful headings.
- Write your online content using an “inverted pyramid style”. Provide the most relevant information to users at the top of the page before they get sick of reading (or scanning).
Obviously there’s a lot more to good website usability that just these three, but getting these right will put your business on the path to an effective web strategy.