Importance of Web Usability
The Difference Between Buy and Bye
build it, they may or may not come. But if they do come and you've
built it badly, they almost certainly won't come back. By Dan
Have you ever
decided to grab that cheaper bottle of no-name ketchup on the grocery
store shelf but you couldn't reach it because it was to high up
on the shelf? Did you instead pick the exact same bottled product
labeled Heinz ketchup on the bottom shelf even though it was $0.89
more, but simpler to grab?
of site design is exactly the same and you have to cater to your
customer (known from here on only as "user/users") or
else they will shop elsewhere.
design, together with basic human interface factors must always
be adhered to when designing a marketable site.
is mainly screen display and interactivity with computers and electronic
devices. Interface design encompasses everything a user sees, touches,
hears, and interacts with. The interface design orients the user
to the experience or message of the website. The best interface
is one that is transparent to the user, meaning that it does not
distract from the purpose and message of the experience. A transparent
interface is one that is so subtle and quiet that users do not perceive
an interface at all. Elements of the interface range from screen
layout and color selection to modes of interaction such as text
One of the most
important areas that should never be overlooked is the hierarchy
flow of the website and the navigation system the user will have
to use to find their way through the website. A user has to have
a clue where they are, where they are going or how to get back to
where they were.
Build your website using a hierarchy. The key is
to provide a way for users to answer three questions:
1. How do I know where I am?
2. How do I know where I am likely to go or should go next?
3. How do I know how to get back to where I was?
are not too many links to choose from, especially on the home page.
A user easily gets overwhelmed when visiting a site with zillions
of links. Remember that you have one or more primary messages that
you want to communicate, so keep your visitors focused on achieving
the actions you want them to achieve. Don’t let your customers
get lost. Always inform them where they are and why they are there.
And if they do get lost, provide them simple mechanisms to return
to higher-level pages or give them access to a site map or index.
way from point A to point B is tough enough when there's a good
road map, but on the Web there are only hyperlinks to point the
way. Web builders need to design their site navigation so that users
can find their way around without getting lost along the way.
You never know
at what page a visitor will enter your site. Ensure they have easy
navigation once they are there to the rest of the Web site.
how do we get customers to give us money? They have to be able to
find products on your site they're willing to buy. Notice the word
"find" because it's the key concept. The two ways people
"find" their way around your site is by using your search
engine or by navigating based on the links you've created. Quite
frankly, search engines suck and are another topic in itself. The
second way people find items on your site is through your site's
When you go
to the grocery store to buy food, they've got your money. When you're
on the Web it's different because every click is a decision point
and people are ruthless. If they don't like what they see or they're
confused, they go somewhere else. Bad Navigation. According to a
recent research paper, "39 percent of test shoppers failed
in their buying attempts because sites were too difficult to navigate."
Imagine what would happen if your bricks and mortar business
lost almost 40% of its potential customers because they walked in
your store and couldn't find what they were looking for because
your aisles were built in the shape of a maze? When laying out a
project plan for your website, remember to "KISS"
(Keep It Simple
to Part 2
Sutherland, Copyright © 2003
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