A Website Usability Checklist: 5 principles to keep in mind
July 3, 2024
Web design

If you want to spread awareness about your business online, you must first have a user-friendly website. It helps increase a credible relationship between you and the customer. Why? Let us explain.

What is Website Usability?

When you think of website usability, it should be easy for the customer to find things and take an action on your website. What most people forget it should prioritise  good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). 

Below are several website usability checkpoints, to see if your design, site navigation, and other important factors are top notch when it comes to your website usability.

A Responsive Layout

Customers are satisfied with a good design, but is it a responsive layout? Responsive means that it moves and adjusts to all types of devices. When your website is non-responsive, it frustrates the user who is trying  to read or scan your website, so they click away, making all your marketing strategies fall short. You have to make sure your site is up-to-date, responsive and optimised for SEO.

When you site has a responsive layout, customers are more likely to gain interest in your business and services. They also tend to stay longer on your site which helps you gain trust on search engine algorithms. 

However if your website is non-responsive it means that your bounce rate increases and this gives Google the red light to demote your website down to a lower page on search.

Read: Why you need a killer website

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy means that your website should be designed well and have straightforward visual content sections to help users navigate your website. These visual representations help users find information quickly, and it attracts them to stay on your website for longer.  Notice the common theme here: to get users to stay longer on your site, which means you build trust with them.

image courtesy @Unsplash

When you have a good content marketing plan for your site, combined with great visual hierarchy it helps users engage more with your site, learning about your business, services and products.

Here are some ideas to help you increase website usability by updating the visual hierarchy of your site.

  • Make essential elements similar colours and size. If your business needs more leads, concentrate on one primary call to action (CTAs) on your website.
  • As a strong website usability point, you can add some eye-catching visuals like images, and videos in the top section of your site. These can lead the attention of users to product pages, that you want them to visit.
  • Make sure to avoid clutter. If there is too much going on and your site is busy, it can make it seem too complex and overwhelming for users to find information quickly. This increases your bounce rate on Google Analytics.
  • Benefit from using more white space. Give your web page content sections space and make your call to actions easy to click. This will help users read and scan your pages, and actually entices more click through rates, especially when elements have room between each  other.

Search function of a site

As a website usability checkpoint, it can help users with a search feature, especially on eCommerce sites or on blogs. When a search function is added to your site, it can improve the user’s experience because they can search for content or products quickly, and gives your site an advanced functionality. 

You may know exactly where your content and pages are located on your website. But remember that your users don’t have that same knowledge and may find it tricky to locate pages. By adding a search function it allows  users to find what they’re looking for quickly.  

Simple to use forms 

Time is precious for users, and they don’t like to stick on one task for long periods of time. Your forms must be in a simple format for a good user experience. Try to keep forms simple, and in some cases you may want to include instructions on how to fill out a questionnaire. 

Where possible, try to remove excessive steps. If you are giving your customers a downloadable eBook or PDF using a form, you have to ensure it’s easy to fill to build trust with your user.

Good Design and Colour Scheme

An excellent website usability point, always comes down to a good design and the colour scheme. A good design is not just about a responsive layout. A major usability feature on your website is that users must have a clear idea of what your website represents.

To do this, colour plays a significant role in the whole design process. The colour scheme helps a website catch the eye of a user and can make your company look professional and more trustworthy. 

When you pair strong colour scheme with good design, it can establish an emotional bond between you and your customers. For example, for 5 years we used a bright magenta-purple, light pink, black and white. Our customers knew us by these colours. We used it in all our branding. 

Now as a team we have outgrown these colours. We decided to test new colours that truly represent our brand, for the launch of our new website. The new brand colours are purple, green, red, and yellow with two variations of black. These colours have actually built more trust with our current customers that have a different emotional appeal to each one. New customers have advised they were attracted to our brand because of this new colour scheme and weren’t sure about us before the new website.

So don’t be afraid to change the colour scheme of your website. Sometimes it works out better than you hope for. 

Best methods for a Homepage Navigation

Your homepage navigation should be a clear road map of your website. This means your navigation should always support where you want users to go next on your site. 

A logical navigation menu can provide a clear idea for visitors on what your site provides, and where to find important pages. 

If you are concerned about your website usability, make your navigation menu according to the following:

  • Keep your menu constant for every web page. It can avoid confusing users, and it helps to guide them to the most important pages.
  • Place your menu where visitors can see it easily. This is usually at the top or on the side of your website.
  • Do not include too many menu items as it can decrease the responsiveness of your website, and may lead to confusion or overwhelm. It’s normal for many businesses to want to provide everything in the navigation, especially when launching a new website. A website design agency can help you create a home page navigation for your site.
  • Follow a logical strategy to include on your menu. This can help boost your site on SEO.

Need some help with your website?

When you use this website usability checklist, it will help make sure your site is user friendly and not harder. This improves your site performance, increases engagement with users, and can increase customer leads. 

If you are interested in these website usability features, and need help with the visual hierarchy of your site, contact Caria Watt to find out how. Our office is located in Waterloo, Sydney, and we offer the best web design services and digital marketing for small to medium business all over the world.

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