Usability in web design, or how to evaluate your site from the user’s point of view
The situation with the website is approximately the same: you visit it with the aim to purchase some product, but because of inconvenient navigation, you spend much more time on the purchase. And if you knew the structure of the site, you could do it within one minute. That is why the usability of the site or usability in web design is one of the main tasks of each web designer.
How to look at the site through the eyes of an outside visitor?
Probably everyone faced the problem of finding the right information or acquiring certain products from the website. If the online store’s navigation was easier to read and intuitive to understand, such difficulties could have been avoided.
We all know that the best service is one that is invisible, and in the service industry this is one of the basic rules. But first things first.
Even if you are not yet the maestro of usability in web design, and only recently started the difficult path of a web designer, you still eventually realize that a site for visitors, first of all, should be comfortable and functional, and not just beautiful.
And if you had the honor to talk with other web designers, you have already seen that the concept of beauty is always subjective, since different people have almost always different tastes.
Hardly anyone would like a site where to search for the necessary information you need to go through a lot of links and almost learn the menu structure. Most likely, it will be easier for the user to find information in other sources. Therefore, to combine design and usability should be able to everyone who claims to be the honorary title of a web designer.
But not everything is so simple. It turns out that the perception of usability can also be subjective, because where the creator of the site seems simple and understandable, to an outside user may seem confusing and illogical. Let’s finally get to the point and consider what factors influence the perception of the resource by third-party users, and also find out how to correctly combine usability and design.
What factors influence the perception of the site?
1. Download speed of web pages.
We are well aware that information is a value, especially if you know where, when and how to apply it. This is a valuable product, therefore, to experience certain difficulties when trying to obtain the necessary information is quite normal.
But we were incredibly lucky: we live in the century, which is called information, and have become accustomed to the fact that at any moment we can get the knowledge we need from the Great and Mighty Internet in seconds. But if your site loads more than five to seven seconds, then most likely, users will prefer to go to another site. Therefore, the optimization of web pages should be given special attention.
2. Compliance with the subject and design.
From a beautiful ceramic cup, made in the Oriental style, Chinese tea will be tastier than from ordinary glass, isn’t it? Not true. The taste of tea will be the same, but we want the form to match the content. If you drink Chinese tea from the appropriate dishes, then our perception of tea will become more holistic.
Web design has the same principle: when you get to your site, the guest needs to understand at a glance what the resource is about, what it sells or what kind of services it provides. Nothing will speak more eloquently about this than the logo, background and the style in which the design is made.
3. Visual presentation of content.
Why are newspapers divided into columns? To make it easier for the reader to perceive the information, because a long text printed on one line is somewhat harder to read, and most importantly, to perceive. The format of web pages differs from newspaper, but we are faced with the task of delivering certain information to the user and making it the most convenient way for him (you are a future professional!)
To do this, you do not need to imitate the newspaper layout of the text (although, in some cases, this may be appropriate), but to provide certain “clues” to the guest of your resource is extremely necessary.
Make sure that the guest traveling with a glance through the text of your site has something to “catch on” and from what to “push off” in order to continue your journey. To do this, you need to pay special attention to sections, subtitles, as well as the size, color and font of the text.
Not so long ago, in order to use the Internet, we needed a computer connected to a modem. But today our services include smartphones and tablets that allow us to be online almost everywhere. Therefore, web designers faced the challenge of adaptability. If your site is adapted for mobile devices, its audience will increase by about 50%.
From how the site will be useful to the user, how directly this site will be useful to you depends. And online shopping is especially true. We already know that for people of the 21st century it is very important to find the necessary information as quickly as possible, so remember the rule of three clicks. Make sure that the site visitor finds what they are looking for in no more than three clicks.
For this, it is necessary to develop a convenient and understandable menu, make it possible to sort goods or services on the site, use filters and so on. Remember that the one who thinks clearly – clearly states, so make the site as clear as possible to the guests without using anything extra.
Now we know that design and usability should harmoniously coexist, because a resource that is inconvenient to use completely loses its practical purpose – and a website with no decent design is like a general without a uniform and therefore his (website) perception becomes bland.
Experiment, try various options, test and improve your website, because the degree of your success as a web designer depends on it.