Updated November 2022
Why Website Usability is Important
Many business owners focus on providing their business, product, or service information instead of considering the needs of their target consumers. Learn how website usability relates to user experience design and the benefits it provides to your target consumers.
Fairly early in any conversation with a new client, I bring up the subject of website usability. And I am always surprised how few business owners focus on how their target audience will use their website.
That works against their business objectives. Website usability is essential if you want to build a user-friendly website.
88% of consumers are less likely to return to a site with bad UX.HubSpot
Most likely, you have encountered informational websites but difficult to navigate or even explore. This type of site is commonly built by the business owner with only their own business in mind. The site is designed to deliver information about the business and its product or service.
This provides knowledge but no actual engagement, excitement, or use to the intended audience. And frequently, it does not consider functional aspects such as page speed, information flow, and functionality.
Enter User Experience Design
This is where UX design comes in. With a clear focus on the target or end-user, user experience design determines your audience’s needs and how they expect your website to look, feel, and function. UX design elements go far beyond visual design.
They include everything a user encounters when they visit a website, from navigation, content, imagery, calls to action, interactivity, forms, and so on.
Consumers are more likely to share a negative UX experience with others.Startup Bonsai
Analyzing and assessing how well these elements work for any specific user is critical to ensuring a website is successful and provides valuable insight into the site’s efficiency and ultimate usability.
What is Website Usability?
Website usability replaced the outdated term “user-friendly” from the early 1990s. Today we look at any product, including a website or e-commerce store, in many different ways. We consider the actual design, as in how it appeals to the visual sensibilities of the end-user.
We also look at the user’s effort to perform certain tasks, such as finding a product or signing up for a newsletter. Website usability determines how much joy or frustration website users experience and how easy or difficult it is for them to interact with the site.
The Impact of Website Usability on User Experience
Website usability itself is an essential component of UX design. As I mentioned above, it refers to the ease and efficiency with which a user can access or navigate a website or e-commerce store.
In many ways, website usability is the most important aspect of a website that is not seen, affecting everything from SEO to site speed.
As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex and competitive, user experience and website usability are two of the most important aspects of ensuring the success of any digital presence. It ultimately is the determining factor of the overall health of a business or product brand.
Some of the most common website usability concerns we hear from our clients include: “Why is our bounce rate so high?”, “Why are users complaining that our site is hard to navigate?” or “Why is our cart abandonment rate so high?”
Yes, these issues are very frustrating and can really hurt your business and your bottom line! But they can usually be fixed simply by improving the user experience you provide, starting with your website’s usability.
Website Usability in Action
Good website usability is a critical element of your consumer experience. Simply put, your consumer experience is the digital representation of your company’s voice and vision. And consumer experience is nonexistent without website usability.
When usability strategies such as user persona development and usability testing are leveraged, a company can better understand its customers’ needs and create strategies to achieve them.
Testing for website usability can take many forms. It should always be scaled for the product or service it is supporting. Participants are typically asked to journey through the entire or specific areas of the experience, attempting to accomplish the tasks set out by the test.
Website usability tests can and should be timed, monitored, and recorded for future analysis and optimization.
Website usability comes down to analysis, design, and implementation. Getting to know the inner workings of your user personas, your customer’s journey of conversion, and your business goals is a starting point.
By implementing and leveraging a better user experience design process, website usability has the potential to forge more effective relationships between prospective and current customers as well as internal stakeholders.
Ensuring that visual and contextual cues are at a user’s fingertips is a core component of website usability. There’s no better way to deliver a better user experience than optimized calls to action (CTAs).
In fact, according to Search Engine Journal, the easiest way to increase your website conversions is to make things as simple as possible.
This means that a business can gain exponential engagement, not to mention revenue, by providing a visual cue for a user to find what they are looking for easily. Any company can drastically increase online and offline revenue with a few website usability tweaks.
Next, let’s focus on website accessibility. In 2022 and beyond, your website must meet user expectations and be accessible to all users. Enabling people with diverse abilities to access, perceive, navigate, and interact with the website is a win all around.
From both a technical and physical aspect, accessibility is required for many industries and is fast becoming a chosen feature for product brands and businesses identifying underserved but impactful audiences.
Website usability features include screen readers, magnifiers, voice-recognition software for user-generated content, alt text, and more. Additionally, website accessibility can be improved by strategizing and implementing compliance best practices. For example, you could create an understandable and robust overview of accessibility via a site map.
Website usability is essential for gaining the trust of your target audience. Along with outdated aesthetics, poor website usability will negatively affect a company’s reputation. The effects are far-reaching and can easily impact the bottom line of any business or product brand.
To build an effective brand strategy, ensure your website images are high-resolution and your copywriting is strong and engaging. Delivering an optimized user experience can elevate the overall brand image and voice and lend a positive association with the brand, which is essential to retaining or gaining market leadership.
Up to now, I have only focused on the external user, your website visitor, or mobile consumer. But what about the website usability required or expected by your own internal users? Many business owners are concerned about how their online presence will support their business objectives.
As a result, they completely forget about the effort required to update and maintain their website.
From your content management system (CMS) to admin dashboards, easy-to-use, easy-to-learn, and simple-to-update systems are essential. For this reason, I recommend you consider getting a WordPress business website.
This will provide your internal team with a user-friendly interface. This will allow them to complete tasks in less time and update content on a more regular basis.
The Website Usability TakeAway
Website usability refers to how easily a user interacts with a website or product. It comes under UX design but is not limited to user experience design. For improved website usability, designers have to pay attention to these three essential aspects:
- Users should find it easy and become proficient when using a design interface.
- Website visitors should be able to achieve their goals easily by using that design.
- They should be able to learn the interface quickly so that return visits are just as, if not more, easy.
You must analyze your entire online presence when you determine usability. Consider everything from the accessibility and effectiveness of your website content to credibility and trustworthiness. That means thinking ahead.
Who are your users? What goals are they trying to accomplish on your site? What action do you want them to take? Which obstacles are they likely to encounter, and how will they overcome them?
A Few More Things to Consider
You also should consider the (sometimes harsh) realities of the Internet. Finding reliable website hosting is crucial. This affects your page load speed and adds an extra layer of website security.
Make sure your website is mobile-first and provides the best possible user experience for mobile consumers.
If you have an online store, there are a few additional considerations. Visual factors, including your color scheme and content formatting, are also important. You must focus on usability before a flashy or cutting-edge design.
Finally, test, test, and test some more. A plethora of website usability tools exist. Never underestimate the value of testing from an early stage. By working out where users click, for example, you’ll be well on track to learning their ways and how usable your site is.
By following best practices throughout the UX design process, the ideal user experience can deliver increased brand satisfaction and a better bottom line for the business it supports. And we are here to help you do just that.
Not Sure How to Make Website Usability Work for You?
Are you looking to redesign or update your website or online store for your business or product brand? Are you unsure how to improve your website’s usability? Our team of WordPress experts will be happy to help you with this. But first, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.
Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your business web design needs, let’s talk! We offer a full range of consulting and design solutions for businesses and product brands.
And if you are still unsure how to improve your website usability or why you should, let’s talk! Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to improve website usability on your website or e-commerce store. That is one of our specialties, after all!
How is Your Website Usability?
Did you focus on website usability on your website? Is that helping you increase productivity, user satisfaction, and conversions? Or are you experiencing website usability issues or shortcomings?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help ending bad business websites, one pixel at a time!