Website Usability is how accessible your website is for your visitors. There is no point having an attractive website if your visitors can’t navigate to your pages or understand your content. Before designing your website you should consider the following:
Where are your contact details?
Your contact details should be clearly visible on your website or easily accessible. Most likely the reason you want visitors to view your website is to make contact with your company. Your contact details should be obvious and either part of your website template and/or on a ‘Contact Us’ page recognisable in your navigation.
All methods of contact should be evident to allow viewers to choose how they wish to contact you.
How is your content?
Keep your information short and to the point. Use bullet points on your homepage to explain your key information. Leave any in-depth information about your company for pages such as the ‘About Us’ page.
Headings should be clear by using a larger font size or different colour from the body text. Padding on headings should reflect which paragraph they refer to by having less padding between the heading and paragraph and more between each section.
For the body content on your website make sure to use sufficient line height. This will make your text clear and easier to read. Your font should be a plain style and an easily readable font size (recommended 12px minimum for body text) to ensure readability.
Where is your company logo?
Your company logo should be in the top left hand side of your screen as this is commonly where viewers first look when visiting a website. You company logo should also always be a link to the homepage of your website for users to easily navigate.
Where is your Navigation?
The placement for your navigation should either be at the top of your page going horizontally or to the left going vertically. When first going to a website you should first see your logo and then your navigation, either to the right of the logo or directly below it.
How fast does your webpage load?
An important part of keeping visitors on your site is ensuring you have a decent page speed. You don’t want users to get fed up and navigate away to your competitors. Think about optimising your image sizes and using CSS image sprites for your image hover effect.
How is the contrast on your website?
Your content should be easily visible, so be sure to go for contrasting colours when choosing your background and font colour.
Do you have a Search?
Search functionality is a good idea if you have a large amount of content on your website. This way the user can easily find what they have come to the website for, without spending hours scrolling through all your content. Search boxes should be obvious and are most commonly located in the top right hand corner of your website.
Styles on your website
You website font styles should all be similar. There should be one style for all page headings, one style for all sub headings, one style for all links in the content and one style for all the body text, to avoid confusion.
Links should be unmistakable by using either a different colour and/or being underlined. Users shouldn’t have to hover over text in order to locate links.
All your template styles should also be similar. In order to make your branding obvious, your inside pages shouldn’t be drastically different from your homepage.
You should include a Site Map link at the bottom of your pages. A Site Map is a page that contains all the links on your site. Make sure your Site Map is clear with main pages and subpages obviously defined.
Any forms you might have on your website should be easy to use. Required fields should be recognisable and clear validation should be used. Once a viewer has submitted a form a success page should appear so they know their message has been sent.
By keeping in mind the points above you will go a long way to ensuring your website follows some of the most common usability and accessibility guidelines, plus you could also possibly increase the conversion rate from the traffic on your website.