July 27, 2007
For all of the technical jargon associated with the internet and web design, there is one word that trumps them all in importance and it’s a word that should be familiar with everyone. That word is usability. Usability is important to create Web sites that your customers will want to return to.
If no one can use your site, then no one will bother staying on it. Your website needs to be user friendly or you won’t see much of a return on your investment. To keep in simple, no matter what type of subject your website is about, it needs to be designed as user-centered.
Users need to be considered constantly throughout the website design process. The best approach to take is to a proactive approach to the design process and takes care of any potential issues before it’s too late. While there are a good number of specific suggestions, here are some quick tips you can use to create a site that is useful for your visitors.
HTML – There are some version-specific elements of HTML which will cause some problems for some of visitors of your site. The only way for your site to be completely user friendly is to limit it to HTML 1.0. It won’t be for few years to come until the majority of web surfers will be able to access new technology due to old computer hardware and other factors. The best recommendation is to avoid beta-level software and technology until it has been established for at least a full year.
- Download Speed – More and more people are gaining access to the internet but that doesn’t mean, they’re connection are as fast or as good as yours. This means don’t go making a site that is bigger and fancier that it actually needs to be. All of the latest studies show that the speed of a page downloads ranks as a sites most important factor. A potential customer will lose interest in your page after ten seconds no matter what the topic is and if they interested or not.
- The layout of the page – The importance of the layout of the page is similar to that of its content. They are pretty much intertwined. You could have written some of the greatest content ever, but if the layout of on the page is sloppy and disjointed, no one is going to try and read it. They’ll just find another website that is easier to navigate. Keep your pages clean and simple. If your page doesn’t need certain elements on it, then remove them. If it functions the same after removing a function, do the same and take it out.
- Content – All web design experts will agree that content is king. It’s what Google sees when they index your site and more importantly it’s what your site’s visitors will see. Your web site needs to be about something that you feel passionate about and your visitors should too. Show that excitement on every one of your pages. If your readers see that excitement and feel the same way, they’ll keep coming back.
- Colors – Colors can and will play an important part of your website, much more than you may realize. They affect the usability of your Web site. There are some colors which look great together, and then there are other colors that are almost so painful to look at that you need to click away before you burn your eyes.
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