So what’s the big deal
When you use the internet you continually make micro decisions about navigation, visual appeal, quality of content or copy and also, the kind of experience you are having. Can I see what I’m looking for, do I understand that link, can I read that copy, is this the right button etc. If this process is intuitive and painless, and seems to meet most of your requirements, then the team behind the site you’re on understands the power of good usability. Anything less than this means the business behind it undervalues you, the user. Do you want to do business with a business like that?
User centred thinking
A user centred approach to creating web sites radically increases the likelihood of success because it delivers a much better online experience for site visitors. Good usability, or user experience, is a result of placing human, rather than technical needs at the centre of all planning and design decisions. Getting this right is all about the amount of work that goes in at the beginning to understand what site users want. Ironically then, the most simple sites are often the result of months of hard work by agency and client teams alike.
Why is usability important?
Good user experience is, increasingly, the critical factor in developing fruitful online relationships. For businesses that take usability seriously, the most common benefits or return on investment are:
• improved perceptions of brand
• increased conversion rates
• greater customer loyalty and retention
• increased customer advocacy
• increased traffic
• improved search rankings.
To understand how important usability really is you have only to think of your own experience of a bad website, and how quickly you left it.
So how does your site measure up?
Be honest with yourself, is your site up to the mark? Do you provide a positive experience for your visitors? Do they find your content easily, in the place they expect it and does it engage them? If your business is not thinking about usability now your web presence is probably doing your reputation more harm than good.
And that’s bad for business.