Usability Best Practices for Web Design

Usability and website design are when the design and development processes are focused on the user. Usability is a website that is easy for users to find the information they need when they need it. The following suggestions will improve the user experience of your site;

Transparency

Most users want to know that they will have total control over the information that they share with your site. In the process of collecting information, it is important that you advise users what your plans are for their data. If you include a signup form for a newsletter, make sure that you only use information for the newsletter. If you are going to use it for other purposes, make sure you are explicit with how you may share their information. A privacy policy is an effective way of outlining how data is used on the website.

Keep content concise

People will read the content on a website differently than they would a book. They will read in a non-linear format, often scanning down the page letting their eyes be guided by subheadings. Focus on what is important. Content that is well constructed and easy to read keeps a user on your on your page.I use Grammarly to proof my content. It is much more efficient than a spellchecker on a word processor. The added benefit is that it has a plagiarism checker that will cross-reference your content so that you are satisfied that you are not breaching copyright. Many CMS will utilise readability management formulas, i.e., The Flesch Reader. It is a tool used in SEO plugins in WordPress and other CMS.

Maintain consistency

I endeavour to create a consistent experience across my client’s entire brand as well as with their website. There should be a consistency with design elements such as colours, use of typography, layout and placement of those elements. With all pages, navigation should remain in the same location throughout the website. This means that the website behaves consistently on other devices i.e. mobile phones and tablets.

Use a site map

A sitemap is an index for all the content on your site. It is a table of contents for a web browser. It is generally accessible from the landing page of the website and service two useful purposes: Sitemaps help people find what they are looking for on the site and to assist search engines to find all your links.

Stable and reliable navigation

The main navigation bar should be simple and placed near the top of your page. Include navigation in the former area of your website. Use breadcrumbs on each page, so that’s users can find their way back. A designer will use over and understates on navigation buttons indicating when a link is active or has been visited. Use external linking to refer to other websites making sure that it is evident where the link will be going.

Internal Linking

Internal linking refers to any lengths from one page on a website domain to another page on that same website domain.I use internal links on my blog as they guide my readers through my website. This practice achieves increased page views and page rank.

Accessibility

There are many Internet browsers from Safari, Opera, Chrome, Firefox. A professional web design will ensure that anyone visiting your website will be able to view it no matter what browser or application they are using. The mantra for web designers over the last couple of years has been the responsive design. Make sure that your website displays correctly on smartphones, tablets, etc.

In conclusion, practical usability means that a website is clean, consistent in design and able to help people find the information that they require.

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