With the passage of time high-quality website usability has gained a lot of importance. We’ve seen a lot of discussions on it and an making your website easy to use has become super important as it can actually help your brand grow. Why? Well, if a user is able to use your website properly, he will be able to explore it and an easy to use website will leave a better impression on the users that in return will have a good opinion of your brand. It does not matter if you have a big or small company, you must have a good usability strategy.
I have seen a lot of start-ups portraying a good example of good usability. You can keep things simple yet innovative and when things are simple, they are bound to have good usability. Today we will be discussing usability mistakes that web designers need to avoid Big time.
Not Highlighting Links:
I find it so, so annoying when I keep on navigating at a page trying to find links. As a web designer, you should always highlight link with another color so that a user can differentiate. It is very important for a user to know where to navigate from. You cannot make them put in a lot of effort to hover the mouse on entire page to see if a cursor is changing into a pointer. It’s like someone is asking your help to get somewhere and all you do is say “It’s over there” but make no gesture towards the place or direction.
If you cannot change the color, make sure you emphasize on links in some way. Also, you need to differentiate between the links and visited links. A user should know if he has visited this page before or not. The key is to save your user from confusion.
Well, when it comes to typography, people normally go for fonts that look good. Apart from beautiful typography, it is important that the text should be easily readable. We all know that internet users normally don’t read everything mentioned in an article. They just scan the article to see if it is important for them or not. Non-scannable text will only scare your users away as they won’t be able to read it. If you want your content to be easily readable, make sure you increase line height, break the text into paragraphs. These small changes will really help your visitors to actually read your content and get your message.
Your preference should be functionality and not aesthetics. As per the recent trend of flat designs, web designers are focusing more on content and less on how the background looks like. People had enough of crowded websites hence the popularity of minimalism and flat designing. There are no distractions, no flashes, which automatically means a website that will load easily.
Not Staying in line with design conventions:
In order to try something different, a lot of web designers have tried not following the conventions and from what I’ve seen they mostly ended up with confused users and nothing else. Since your visitors are used to the other websites, you are the one who needs to be in line with rest of the websites.
While designing a website, make sure you follow the regular conventions. For instance, the navigational links are mostly found on the top of the page. Keep them there so that users know where to go if they need to navigate out of current page.
Content is not self-explanatory:
Remember, internet users are browsing a page for a certain reason or for particular information. Precisely, if they visit a website, they do it with an aim. So, always keep in mind that your content should be self-explanatory and visitors should get answers to their questions.
Smaller and limited clickable areas:
If you are visiting a website, I am sure you find small clickable areas to be uncomfortable. If you do not want to keep the font size too high, don’t. However, make sure you keep the clickable buttons bigger so that the user can click them easily. Like I mentioned earlier, functionality is much more important than keeping your website pretty.
If you are running a blog or a big website, make sure you offer a search feature so that users can look for whatever they want. Don’t make them go round in circles in order to find the content. They should be able to use the search feature and find whatever they have been looking for.
Registration is mandatory:
You will always end up annoying a user if you force them to register on your website in order to be able to utilize its features. Giving them a demo version is always good and they can register later on, if they feel like it. This is the approach we use in our homepage and we get many positive responses on it as we are one of the few that use this technique in the industry of website builders.
Understanding user behavior is a science and we are learning more as the web grows and develop. However, there are already many things that we know for sure and have been proven statistically by people who tried and failed. Following these rules does not mean that you have to put your creative abilities to a side. As a designer you can make a website that is beautiful and usable at the same time.