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Never Underestimate the Importance of Website Usability

It is easy to get caught up on the look and feel of your new website design. Big, bold images and fun icons, with words written to emphasize the awesomeness of what you have to offer. Best website EVER.

However, if you were to test it, would it be easy to use, and easy to navigate? If you didn’t know anything about your company or product, would you get a good first impression from your home page?

55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 second on your website. And as many as one in three visitors will leave your site after their very first visit.

Now that you have them, how do you keep visitors on your website?

Usability.

What is Usability as it relates to website design?

Making sure that visitors can easily navigate your site, understand what you have to offer, and it loads easily no matter the platform.

From Great Web Design Tips, here are the most common reasons why new visitors to a site leave without exploring the site further:

  1. The visitor doesn't understand what the site is about, or simply decides that it doesn't have what they were looking for;
  2. The home page takes too long to download, and they give up waiting;
  3. The visitor doesn't find what the link to your site promised; and
  4.  Your site requires an plug-in, such as Flash, to use, and they don't have, or dislike, that plugin.

Since that first impression is critical, make sure your website loads quickly and easily. Your website should:

-       Load within 3 seconds or else you risk losing them, possibly to a competitor

-       Be responsive – more and more people are researching and shopping via mobile. Make it easy for them to see what you have to offer.

-       Be well-organized, simple, and a clean design, free from clutter. No one wants to spend time staring at a page trying to figure out where they need to go to get the information they are looking for. Besides, simpler designs are scientifically proven to be more appealing to buyers. If visitors can’t find it easily, they will leave.

-       Quickly and clearly community who you are and what you have to offer – your main message - using words and phrases that are common among your industry. Words and phrases familiar to your visitors.  

-       Provide simple navigation. To many menu items, and dropdowns makes it confusing and hard to figure out where to go. If you have a number of items to navigate, look to use Group Items, then use Hidden menus to provide additional navigation. Make it easy for visitors to know where they are through page headers or breadcrumbs. For every page, a primary course of action needs to be clear and obvious using CTA’s to help guide your visitor.

-       Use forms that are smart. Using smart forms enables you to incrementally capture the details per contact that you are interested for each time they visit and interact with your site. Plus, asking a few simple questions each time, rather than 25 the first time, will increase the success rate of your submissions.

Attention to a few simple details, will make your website easy to understand and easy to navigate, increasing the time a visitors stays on your site. Good for you, good for your prospective customer. To see how user friendly your website is, check out this blog from Hallam, “How to perform a fast Usability Check on your website”.

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