Usability describes the usability and usability of a website. It is also known as “software ergonomics”. The better the usability of a page, the higher the probability of a conversion. Conversion rate optimization is the main goal of better usability. Technical factors as well as creative and psychological factors play a role in assessing usability. These have to be well coordinated.
Usability refers to the extent to which a product, system or service can be used by certain users in a certain application context in order to achieve certain goals effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily.
Good usability is usually not perceived explicitly, but bad usability is. Usability is important for all products with an interface between man and technology or between man and machine. Whether software, websites, mobile devices, medical devices, or complex systems for machine control at work, they all benefit from good usability.
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Why is usability important?
Whether with an online shop or a service provider – good usability sells better. If a user has fewer obstacles to overcome on the way to a product or in search of a service, the likelihood that he will buy or order service is much higher. And not to forget: it is also much more likely that he will use the service on the same page again. If the usability is insufficient, however, the user will most likely leave the page very quickly – ergo: no purchase.
In addition, users today have much higher expectations of a website. The offer is simply much larger, there are many more comparison options. If the user does not immediately get what he wants, he simply clicks on the next search result and is thus among the competition.
Furthermore, poor usability often leads to increased service costs, i.e. many more users call to get information that they have not received on the website. The increased effort in support can in turn adversely affect other tasks of the employees in this department.
The degree of usability of a website depends on a variety of factors. The common goal of all these factors is to make the user navigate the website as intuitively and easily as possible, to put no resistance on the way to a conversion, and to improve the click and bounce rates.
In general, good usability correlates with an increase in the conversion rate. Increasing usability and making it user-friendly is therefore one of the main tasks of conversion optimization and is part of on-page optimization.
Important factors for usability include:
At first impression, a lot happens in the subconscious. Within a few seconds, the decision is made as to whether the page looks serious, interesting, funny, etc. It is also important that the user recognizes what is being offered within this short time.
A compromise between promotional elements and ease of use must often be found here. On the one hand, the page has to convince the user of the offer, on the other hand, navigation has to be made as easy as possible.
3.Page Speed or Page Load Time:
This factor is particularly noticeable in older technologies. Pages that build up very quickly on a powerful computer may take much longer on an older computer. It is therefore important to increase the loading time of the website.
Users usually have little patience and want to get an overview as quickly as possible and recognize which action they have to perform where. Important elements here are e.g. the image / text distribution, font size or calls for action.
How can you improve usability?
To improve usability, there are several “cogs” that you can turn:
5.Technology / accessibility
- Short loading times
- Speaking and meaningful URLs for human-beings
- Avoid frames and pop-ups if possible
- Clear feedback on the actions of the user (UX), e.g. a confirmation that he has carried out an action
- The website has its own 404 page, which “takes the user by the hand” and takes it to other pages
- Responsive web design to enable the use of the website on different devices
- Images / multimedia
Users should have control over multi-media content, automatically playing videos are a no-go.
6. Content / Clear message
- Clear information on what the user can expect, for example, if he wants to make a purchase
- Clearly label categories, use common terms
- The strong contrast between writing and background
- Easy to read due to the large font, sufficient character spacing, paragraphs
- The format of texts or images should be clear and not disturb the eye
- Navigation should be easy to understand and use for the user.
- An overview of the overall structure of the page, as well as individual segments (shopping cart, order process, lexicon, etc.), helps the user to keep the orientation. The best solution for this is breadcrumb navigation that shows the user his current location within the structure of the website at any time.
- Easy-to-find search functions, ideally at the top right
- Linking of the logo to the start page
- Intuitive use of the tab key on forms
- Links are always identified in the same way
- Consistently the same scheme for the colors and style of the website
- The intuitively understandable structure that runs through the entire website
- Meet user expectations by placing certain elements in certain positions, eg company logo in the top left
How to test the Usability of a Web Design?
Usability tests help website operators to check the user-friendliness of a page and to recognize where users encounter problems. This allows you to determine where the biggest weak points are and where to start. In addition, usability tests have the advantage that, as it were, they offer an outside view that often differs significantly from the company view. After all, users often have a completely different knowledge of the services and products than the company itself.
A usability test gives people precisely defined tasks that they have to perform on their side. You give the test subjects a certain situation, for example, you should find suitable mattresses in a mattress online shop for certain sleeping needs. The test subjects must then document their steps precisely, verbally, or in writing. It is important here that the people have not yet known the offer, neither from their own experience nor from reports from other users.
There are many different ways to test usability. In addition to the method already described, in which people have to perform tasks and have to comment on their procedure, it is also possible to use tools, for example, mouse tracking tools or an eye-tracking analysis.
Usability tests can also be used in the conception phase, for example with the “ Card Sorting” procedure . You can determine which design is the most user-friendly. The test subjects receive cards with category names or menu titles, for example, and should arrange them in a sequence that makes sense for them.
Influence of Usability on Search Engine Optimization
Usability only has an indirect effect on search engine optimization, but it still influences the ranking. Search engines cannot (yet) understand page content such as text, images, or videos as a real user, but they can understand the page content and its quality using meta information and user behavior.
Badly usable pages usually have a high bounce rate, which in turn can have a negative impact on the ranking. In contrast, pages that are clear, easy to navigate, and easily accessible are considered by search engines as a signal for good website quality.
The aspect of “voluntary dissemination” and its indirect effects on SEO should not be underestimated: If the site offers a good user experience, it is much more likely that it will be shared, liked, or otherwise recommended.
A non-user friendly web page can’t take good reactions from the users and Search Engine’s Algorithms in a good way.
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