Website Usability & User Experience Essentials

Website usability is mostly determined by each point of contact that a user can click or interact with. On the other hand, there is also potential areas where users might want to be able to interact with a website but can’t…  

This is only part of the reason why websites should be optimised around user experience and, customer satisfaction results in conversions, faster growth and more. So, follow me as I break down some of the most fundamental principles of UX (User experience) and get you on the road to UX mastery. 

The Reality of Website Usability 

Usability relates to everything we use, ever. For example, chairs commonly have four legs for stability, but some are unique with designs that have less legs and more style. The fancy, none four legged chairs still have the usability taken into consideration when designed and that relates directly into websites. 

Simply put, a website doesn’t need to have everything implemented for it to be a hit with users. If you know your audience and their behaviours, you can work to tailor a website’s design and usability around them. 

Users want a website to get them from A to B as soon as possible or provide what they’re looking for in an operational and enjoyable manner. If you over convolute the customer journey you risk losing traffic and losing traffic negatively affects a whole spiral of metrics and KPI’s. 

Focus on making pages easy to use and appealing to the user. Everything needs to be as clear as day… don’t make it look like its clickable when it’s not, don’t make icons and menus a nightmare to navigate and most importantly don’t forget that any website should be usable to even the least tech savvy people within your audience. 

What you should be asking yourself: 

  • Is the website easy to use on mobile & desktop? (Responsive Design) 
  • Why are users not interacting with certain touch points that are important? 
  • What can be done to further optimise areas that are performing well? 
  • When did I last review user journeys and behaviours? 

I could write many more questions down however, I’m sure you get the point… The deeper the analysis and the easier a site is to use then you’re heading into the right direction. There’s always an answer for why something doesn’t work well with users and solutions to fix them. 

Paying Attention to User Behaviours 

Honestly, you’re witnessing user behaviour analysis whilst reading this right now. My blogs are constantly improving as I take my previous content into consideration from a user perspective. 

On a very basic level you can use Google Analytics for free to see how successful one article or relevant page is to another. Allowing you to break down the contents of multiple pages and gain a general idea of why users preferred the content on one page compared to others. 

Now, you can dramatically increase behavioural analysis by investing into a more tailored platform such as Hotjar, a service that specifically focuses on user behaviours and what you should be doing to improve their experiences. 

Tools like these enable you to see heatmaps and recordings of user sessions which can be useful to see which parts of a website users interact with most as well as seeing specific moments in each user sessions where something worked well or not at all. 

There are also a few nifty plugins that can help you work to improve website usability. For example, Hotjar has a feedback form plugin where you can ask the user’s direct questions regarding their time on a site allowing you to reflect on what works and what needs to be changed. 

If You Fail to Plan… You Plan to Fail 

Strategy and planning are crucial for website usability and overall UX success, going in blind could prove very costly.  

Yes, strategy doesn’t seem like the most exciting process in the world, but you’d be surprised with UX. Considering the amount of effort that will go into the final product you want to make sure you’re asking the right questions. 

Put some of these to the test when writing up your strategy: 

  • Who does your primary audience consist of? 
  • What are they wanting to achieve on your site? 
  • How does achieving their goal make them feel? 
  • Is achieving their goal a clear and easy process? 
  • What outcome is expected from this touch point/ clickable element? 
  • Is this a fact or opinion I’m making about my users? 
  • Are you fulfilling the users wants and needs or your own? (It should be both) 
  • What do you expect users to do and how are you helping them do it? 

Testing & Constant Observation 

It’s crucial to maintain changes and observe user interactions with a website. How else would you know all your hard work was successful? 

Once you’re ready to implement changes always make sure you test and validate the changes first. Here’s a few useful articles that teach you all about UX Validation & Testing: 

Check out my guide for more on UX Design here

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