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Understanding the Importance of Usability in Web Design

Website Design - 12 Jun 2015

Understanding the Importance of Usability in Web Design

Websites are an important element to a business’ marketing strategy. A lot of companies invest a significant amount of their budget on developing stylish and innovative sites in order to capture the attention of online users. While the overall style and innovation is important, a number of online businesses miss a very key component when it comes to their e-commerce websites — usability.

According to a usability expert by the name of Jakob Nielsen,“On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here?”.

It makes bad business sense to develop an online website that consumers are unable to use. Nowadays, websites must be designed with usability at the forefront as even Google preaches the importance of it.

Some of the elements of usability that should be tested prior to launching a website should include:

• Navigation functionality
• Cross browser compatibility
• Using clear links
• Having objective site content
• Having clear contact information
• Quick page loading

The importance of usability in web design is underestimated by many companies and unfortunately, they lose profit, consumer loyalty and fall behind the competition as a result. By taking the time to test the usability of a website(essentially putting oneself in the driver’s seat as a potential consumer), one can ensure potential consumers can interact with the website without frustration or difficulty. If consumers encounter a website that takes them on a journey of confusion, they will, by a simple click of the mouse, move on to another site.

When online visitors can obtain the information they are after in a quick and easy manner, businesses benefit greatly by enhancing retention rates, reducing shopping cart abandonment, enhancing business brand image and boosting overall sales and profits.

Website usability may not be something one hears about all that often, but it is an effective marketing strategy to consider, as it can provide businesses with a significant competitive edge.

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