Top 10 Issues in Website Design and Usability
(Posted on February 17, 2010)
You've tested your website, you've visited it a few times, you've gotten some feedback on it, and you have a bit of data about your visitors.
You might want to make some changes. Here are the top ten issues in website design and usability.
Think about these things in relation to your website and consider what you might want to do to perfect your site.
1. The First Glance
In general, people look at the top left corner of your website first. You should have your essential information there: what your offerings are and how your potential customers can get it. Some visitors are at your site only long enough to confirm that you sell what they want, and some are ready to purchase. All visitors need to be able to tell what you do right away. Don't hide behind a splash page or make people wait while something loads - many won't take the time.
When your customers want and need more information, they'll stay and look for it. Make sure they can find it easily. Put your navigation in the usual places, and make it very obvious what your visitors need to clíck in order to find each section. Don't have more than 5-7 choices in your main navigation and keep it consistent on every page. Let your creativity and uniqueness show in some other way - follow the rules when it comes to navigation.
3. Contact Information
Can customers (and search engines) find you when they need you? Your contact information must be clear and accurate. It must also be easy to find. Visitors will visit your website several times before they choose to go for your services or purchase. Don't make it hard for them to contact you when they're ready.
4. Call To Action
What do you want your visitors to do? It should be easy to find out how to complete an order through your website or get more information. Regardless of the content of the page make sure that you include a clear call to action. Make it easy for visitors to purchase or request information from you. Just be sure to make it very clear.
5. Above the Fold Focus
Many visitors won't scroll; most won't scroll unless you have already convinced them that it's worth their while to do so. Make sure important aspects are above fold. The unimportant things - why are they on your page? This is especially important on the home page. Visitors who've reached your FAQs page or your blog are probably interested enough to spend some time reading.
6. Inviting Content
To develop relationships with your clients, you need to have them visit more than once. In fact, most people won't commit themselves the first time they come to your website. You need to award them something of value so they'll return. Do you have a blog, or frequently-updated featured products? Have you got any useful information that you could award your customers?
7. Well-Organized Pages
Don't make your visitors search. Always ensure that your page layout is clear, concise and gives the visitor exactly what they want without having to search for it. Try to put yourself in your customer's position and use what you learn from testing. Decide what you want to say and plan its organization before you write, so you can be sure to have coherent paragraphs.
8. Visual Appeal
While the content on your page is the most important thing, an attractive page will be more enjoyable and appealing for visitors. Choose colours that work well together, leave some open space so it's not too busy, and make sure you have everything lined up nicely. Even if you have not got artistic skills you can make a good impression - and you should.
9. Sincerity and Trustworthiness
The internet is all about trust. If you can ensure that your website is trustworthy, people will be more likely to complete an order. What's more, the search engines also base your rankings on how trustworthy they think your page is. Don't undermine your future success by trying to trick the search engines or mislead your visitors.
10. A Polished Finish
Do your links work? Make sure you check your grammar, spelling and layout are correct? Is all the information up to date and accurate? Your visitors would prefer to shop in a well kept and clean shop in the high street. They would prefer to purchase in a clean and well kept website too. They'll have less faith in you if you have errors on your website.
Is your website perfect? Maybe not. We'll be providing more information on all of these points as we go along, and your site will become better and better as you follow our suggestions and learn more.
About The Author: Pilar Torres Wahlberg - Get ínstant Access to our Free Guide to Proven Techniques on How to Succeed Online.