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How to Evaluate and Optimize Web Usability

Table of Contents

Web usability is essential for success.

Poor website usability can be disastrous for businesses. Users will abandon a site that is difficult to use, and they will be less likely to spend time there. What can you do to fix it?

You can improve your skills by learning the techniques. It is essential to understand what makes a website difficult to use. That’s why a web usability test should be implemented throughout the website’s lifetime.

These three components are what we will examine in this post. We’ll start with the most challenging part of a website to use.

What Makes a Website Difficult to Use

Three main reasons people find a website difficult to use are:

  • The first reason is that it is confusing. It may have too many elements that the user must process. Or, distracting imagery or animations may be present. Whatever the reason, users quickly become overwhelmed.
  • The second reason is that website expectations are inconsistent. If I asked you to describe how you search for information on a website, you’d probably say that you would scroll to the top of the page, type in your query, and then press the search button. But if you don’t see the search button or input field, your site might not be working as you expected.
  • The last reason people have trouble with websites is that they ask too much. Sites often offer too many options, including long lists of products and countless calls for action.

Hicks Law, the time it takes to make a decision grows with the quantity and complexity of options available. When faced with too many options, people become overwhelmed and suffer from analysis paralysis. This is why most people are reluctant to invest online.

First, the more we get to know something, the easier it is for us to understand it. It is simple to remember when you first learned how to navigate Facebook. It could have been overwhelming to click on different options and tabs, but after a while, you will find that it is comparatively easier to use today than when we first navigated it.

Second, websites should be intuitive and hold our attention. Consider how you navigate websites such as CNN. Sections are clearly labeled, urgent news is put front and center, and information is segmented neatly to improve readability.

If we don’t trust our website’s judgment, how can we improve its usability? Hick’s Law is instrumental when making basic judgments, but its effectiveness decreases as decision complexity grows. So we must be wise in applying the Law to web usability.

We can use it in UI design to help us arrange and convey navigation, text, pictures, and actions to a user. Using Hick’s Law should allow us to construct designs that decrease user irritation by presenting the information they need in the most effective way feasible.

Website Usability Testing

Many people consider usability testing an expensive luxury. It doesn’t have to be.

If you have no idea where to start, we’ve got a few tips on how to evaluate the usability of a website for on the cheap or for free. You can also get your results back in as little as an hour.

Before you build and test your site, you should create a mockup or test site. That way, you’ll only have minor bugs when your site goes live.

You can do two simple tests with users to determine if your design is heading in the right direction.

Perform the First-Click test

The first click that a user makes when they visit a website can determine whether they succeed in completing their task or not.

Bob Bailey and Cari Wolfson conducted a well-respected study on web usability.

They found that 87% of users who get their first click correct have a 97% chance of completing their task correctly. If they click incorrectly, the chance of completing their task drops to 46%.

By showing a user a design concept and asking them what they would click to complete a task, we can determine how likely it is to click for the first time.

You can do this in person or send out a survey via email, social networks, or your website. Many companies can recruit participants for as low as $1 per person.

Run a Five-Second Test

Five-second testing is a usability testing method that measures how quickly a design communicates a message. This type of test gives you both qualitative and quantitative feedback to help you optimize your design.

A five-second test is performed by displaying a picture to a subject for five seconds and then asking them questions based on their recollection and perception of the design.

A website, graphic design, app design, prototype, wireframe, logo, or prose — anything that needs to transmit a message — may be the picture you test.

Why just five seconds? According to research, visitors only spend a few seconds evaluating your website before deciding whether to remain or depart.

How You Can Improve Website Usability

There are many ways to increase the usability of your website. Your website usability checklist should revolve around these three key points:

  • Your interface is simple
  • Visibility of meaningful content and calls for action
  • The content’s position and relevance

Let’s look at how you can assess these qualities in a website usability evaluation.

Simpler Interface and Content

Most websites can be more user-friendly by simplifying their content and user interface.

Websites are often stuffed with unnecessary elements, such as redundant stock imagery, secondary navigational hyperlinks, and content unrelated to the page’s subject.

You need to clearly understand the most critical elements on the page to judge if your work is correct.

This is where the five-second test comes in handy. This will allow you to determine if your page’s visual hierarchy is correct.

A five-second test is helpful because it allows you to look at your site from a user’s perspective. A website that quickly communicates all of the information is more likely to catch the right audience. This is an important consideration when making enhancements to enhance conversion and engagement.

Optimizing landing pages in this manner, in particular, may significantly influence your success metrics. You may generate a slew of design options, test them, and iterate fast to discover the optimal solution.

After you’ve done this, you can create a page that reflects those priorities.

This raises the question: How do you design a page that draws attention to the correct elements?

Maximize Visibility

Designers can use many methods to get the user’s attention to critical elements. These include straplines and calls to action. Five techniques stand out as particularly effective. These are:

  • Position
  • Imagery
  • Negative Space
  • Color
  • Size

Consider Your Information’s Position

It’s natural for people to start reading from the left side of the page and work their way to the right. The F-shaped reading pattern validates the same.

When a visitor first arrives on a website, they immediately pay more attention to things on the left side of the page than those on the right, and this pattern continues as they scroll down.

So, one thing is clear: attempt to position all of your crucial information on the left side of the page. When vital information is moved from the right side of the page to the left side, they are seen before the call-to-action.

The F-shaped pattern also indicates that the header of a website receives a lot of attention. You should strategically place information such as free shipping, contact information, a search bar, a money-back guarantee, and so on to boost exposure and maximize the website’s conversion rate.

Take Care of Your Imagery 

An image can be used to grab the attention of users. For example, we tend to follow the eye lines of people we see in photos. Formatting your imagery or text also helps with visual hierarchy and reading flow. This, in turn, helps with storytelling, or the order in which you want the information to be absorbed.

Images and visual balance are also beneficial when crafting an attention-grabbing CTA. Your target audience is more likely to see your CTA if it’s formatted compellingly or has an eye-catching feature image.

Make Use of Negative Space 

Negative space is another excellent technique for drawing the reader’s attention to important text. A reader can rapidly see the information you want them to view by reducing the number of components competing for their attention on a page.

Consider your content and page to be a game of Where’s Waldo. All the elements around him make it difficult to find his red-and-white sweater! To make your Waldo—your content—easy to find, remove all factors that may distract the reader.

We’ve already discussed reducing the number of elements that compete for our attention on a page. Another technique is to surround critical content with space. Our eyes will only focus on the content if there is nothing else in the area. In the same way, we see minor marks on white walls.

The Bottomline

The issue of web usability is vast but can be simplified using web optimization tools. Even the simplest effort to improve usability will tremendously affect your site. You will not only have happy users, but you will also witness an increase in conversion rates and the number of return visits, as well as word-of-mouth referrals.

Optimize Your Web Usability With Us

Instead of relying on trial and error to understand quantitative data, remove the guesswork by simply employing the help of specialists at Advanced Digital Media Services. Our Denver SEO experts and user experience professionals will watch how your consumers interact with your product and advise you on improving their digital experience.

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ADMS Paul Donahue

About Paul Donahue

Paul Donahue has been in the digital marketing realm since 2009. He has an intense passion for creating a dynamic digital presence for his clients through modern websites that rank well on Google. His company’s website is Colorado’s top-ranked SEO company. Author of three books published on Amazon, he is particular about staying abreast with the constantly changing SEO and digital marketing industry trends.

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