Website usability is a very vital element of any web design. Visitors will keep coming back to a site which has good usability. The following are some guidelines which will help you enhance the usability of your site.
1. Make it clear what the site is about
Many websites are filled with lots of information posted in a haphazard way, which makes it difficult for visitors to understand the exact purpose of the site. When visitors land on your site, they should be able to know right away what it is all about. Make sure your homepage contains all the important details. For further explanation, you need to offer a link to your ‘about us’ page.
2. Provide a sitemap
Every website should have a sitemap. Sitemaps offer an overview of the whole site on one webpage which contains every link. Having all the site information on a single page makes browsing much easier.
3. Make sure your site loads fast
The loading speed of your pages is an important aspect of website usability. Most web users are very impatient and will click away from your site if it takes too long to load. Therefore, find ways of speeding up the loading time of your pages.
Some of the causes of slow loading times are:
- Having too much information on one page
- Use of large ad banners, images or flash programs
- Wrong use of tables
- Use of junk html codes
- Use of poor quality hosting services
4. Ensure readability of content
If your site has poor readability, visitors are not likely to return. Poor readability is caused by things such as poor color combinations, inappropriate headings, long sentences, use of tiny fonts and repeating background images.
The following are some guidelines for enhancing readability:
- Use a font size of at least 12 points
- Keep your sentences short and interesting
- Use easy-to-read font types such as Arial and Verdana
- Use proper headings
- Do not use repeating background images
- Use bullets to highlight your main points. Keep your paragraphs short, preferably not more than five sentences long
5. Offer site wide links
Site wide links are a vital element of any site. They enable visitors to navigate the any page of a site quickly. Using the site wide links, visitors can have immediate access to any page of your site. In addition, these links make it easier for search engine robots to index your pages. You can place site wide links at the bottom of your web pages.
6. Test before launching
Before launching your site, make sure you test it first. Here are some of the things you need to look out for when testing your site:
- Check for site errors
- Check the site load times
- Check for grammatical and spelling mistakes
- Check if all the links are working
- Check if your site is compatible with all browsers