10-steps checklist to improve the usability of your website
How to improve the usability of your website? I’ve launched many websites in the last 7 years. Some have had a great success (measured as conversion & retention), others less. In this article I share 10 things I’ve learned to make a great first impression and avoid churn.
Tip #1: make your website clear! Source: Figma Community
What is Website Usability?
Website usability is all about making sure that your website is easy to use for both you and your visitors.
And why do people go on your website? For two reasons: a) to know more or b) to get in touch.
Yet, a surprising number of companies do this wrong. In fact, 51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites.
After all, there’s no point in having a beautiful website if nobody can figure out how to use it! Website usability involves: navigation, clarity and content.
Why is Website Usability Important?
Website usability is important because it directly affects how well your website converts visitors into customers or leads. If your site is difficult to use, people will simply give up and go elsewhere. On the other hand, if your site is easy to use and navigate, people are more likely to stick around and take the desired action. In other words, website usability can make or break your success.
Grow Engagement and Conversions by fixing 3 common website problems
If you want to increase engagement and conversion, then you need to focus on three key areas: design, content, and functionality. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix common website problems in each of these areas so that you can create a website that’s both user-friendly and conversion-friendly.
Enough with context. Let’s have a look at how to start.
Start By Testing Your Website Usability
How to improve website usability? start by testing.
If you want to improve the usability of your website, start by testing how your website is performing now. There are a couple of tests you can run.
1. Do the First-Click Test
Start with a first-click test. What is the first thing that people click on your website? Is it in line with what you’d like them to do?
2. Run a Five-Second Test
I’ve talked about the five-seconds test here. The idea is: what do people understand about your offer after 5 seconds spent on your page?
3. Page speed insight
How long does it take for your page to load? The loading speed will directly affect the usability of your website. You find the link to the Google speed test here.
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How to improve the usability of your website: the 10-tips checklist
Now that you know how your website performs, you should also have a clearer idea of what you want to optimize to improve the website’s usability. Make sure to follow this checklist.
1. Understand who will use your website
The first step to improving website usability is understanding who will be using your site. This includes understanding their needs, how they’ll be using the content you provide and what they want to do. Understanding who your users are (your personas) will help you align your content and your message.
2. Create focused pages and content
When it comes to website usability, less is more. Make sure that each page on your website has a specific purpose and that your content is laser-focused. This will help your visitors understand what they need to do on each page and make it more likely that they’ll take the desired action.
3. Decrease the page load time
As I’ve mentioned before, page load time is a crucial element of website usability. If your pages take too long to load, people will simply go elsewhere. Make sure your page load time stays below 2 seconds.
Data from Google on Design Accelerator.
4. Add clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
I’m on your website. You have my attention. Now, what do you want me to do? You can’t believe how many websites are unclear when it comes to what they want users to do next. Your website’s Call-to-Actions should be clear and visible. Tell your visitors what you want them to do and make it easy for them to move from A to B.
Clear Call-to-Action from CrazyEgg.
5. Optimize the UX for mobile devices
More and more people are using their mobile devices to browse the web. In fact, Google has announced that they will be giving preference to websites that are optimized for mobile.
6. Make the content scannable
Making your content readable is not enough. Make it scannable for the best website usability. People don’t read online, they scan. So make it easy for them to find the information they’re looking for by breaking up your content into paragraphs. Use clear and concise copy: get to the point and use simple language that everyone understands.
7. Make the information flow logical
This point is related to the first-click test you’ve run. If you’re looking at how to improve your website’s usability, it’s key to make the information flow logically. Just like a good story, your website should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Users should be able to easily find what they’re looking for, and click through to the next logical step.
So how can you ensure that your website’s information flow is logical? Organize your content in an intuitive way. Group similar topics together, and make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. Then use consistent navigation elements throughout your site. Users should be able to easily move between different sections of your site without getting lost.
8. Break up your content into clear headers and sections
Make your content easy to read and digest by breaking it up into small paragraphs with clear headers. Use images to support your text and make it readable for Google as well with an appropriate image and alt description.
Use clear and concise labeling for each page and link. Users should be able to tell at a glance where they are on your site, and what each link will take them to. Make sure you use H1, H2 and H3 not only graphically but also for the user experience and logical order of information on your website.
9. Pay attention to readability, colors and contrast for ease of use
Make sure your website’s font is easy to read. Use a sans-serif font for body copy and make sure the size is big enough. Interestingly, the recommended size for the body has increased over time. It used to be 14px some years ago and it’s now 16px.
10. Lastly: make your content sharable
Don’t underestimate the importance of social share buttons for your website. They make it easy for visitors to expand the reach of your content to new audiences and generate new visitors to your website share your content.
Ps. have you already noticed the share buttons of Design Accelerator?
And don’t forget to test, test, and test more
According to Hubspot, only 17% of marketers use landing pages to A/B test their website. It sounds crazy, right? It means that simply by A/B testing with landing pages you’re ahead of 80% of your competitors. Not bad! Testing is the key to improving your website’s conversion rate. It helps you find out what works and what doesn’t, so that you can remove anything unnecessary from your landing page design in order to improve the conversion rate.
UsabilityHub is a great platform to test your website with real users and get qualitative feedback.
A look at some common usability questions on how to improve website usability
To wrap up let’s have a look at the most common questions and misconceptions on how to improve website usability.
How many clicks do users need to make?
Let’s have a look at this common misconception. The general knowledge is that The longer the path, the less likely users are going to complete their task. Fewer clicks is not always better. In some cases, like in this study by Nielsen Norman Group, users prefer designs with more clicks to get where they want.
What can you do to improve the accessibility of a website?
To improve the accessibility of your website you need to make sure that the content of your site is easy to understand and navigate. The following are some tips on how to improve your website usability:
1) Use a single column layout.
2) Use short sentences and paragraphs.
3) Make sure that the links are easy to find, understand and use.
4) Make sure that you include a search box on your site.
5) Use bulleted lists and numbered lists (and not paragraphs with a list of items) to present information.
Why doesn’t mobile convert? Do people use desktop and mobile the same way?
Usually there’s a difference in how people navigate with their desktop and their mobile. Roughly speaking, mobile tends to be used more for scanning and searching, but this is also changing rapidly. What this means for you is that navigation almost always is multi-platform.
The usability of your website is crucial for the success of your customer acquisition. No matter what industry you’re in, your website is what most people will see, so make sure it provides a great first experience.
Where usability often goes wrong is when companies only focus on the design and functionality of their website. When you create a beautiful box with an irrelevant content. A great user experience is more than that. It’s about creating a great first impression and giving your users the information they need to take action.