We all have expectations for what we’ll find when we visit a website. Sure, surfing the web randomly has its time and place, but most of the time, we visit a website to look for something specific—an organization’s location or hours; details about an upcoming event; products to purchase, etc.
We also only have a finite amount of time—and interest—we are willing to spend on a site. So, if you have a website, you want to make sure visitors can find what they are looking for as easily as possible. It’s also the first step to getting them to do what you want them to do.
The measure of how a user interfaces or interacts with the site is called usability. There are five main considerations that are used to measure the usability of a website:
How easy is it for visitors to accomplish the task they came to do?
How much time does it take them to do complete that task?
How easy is it for a visitor to remember how to do that task when they return to your site
How many mistakes are on the site and how do they affect the user’s ability to move beyond them to complete their task
How pleasant is the site to use.
Analytics reports can be helpful in determining usability issues. If visitors are frequently leaving the site after visiting a certain page (especially if you want them to do something on that page), this data can help explain why.
But most of these considerations are qualitative measures. It’s hard to gauge how satisfied visitors are without talking with them. It’s one of the reasons you see those “Will you take a moment to rate our site” pop-ups. But to really understand what visitors think about your site’s usability, you will need to engage them. You can learn more about the value of this type of User Research in one of our previous posts.
Why is Usability so important?
There are a lot of options for web users. If they find your site difficult to use, it’s just as easy for them to leave and go elsewhere as it is for them to spend the energy and interest on your site. You don’t want them spending their time trying to decipher how to get the information they want and do what they came to do.
Even worse, visitors can have long memories. You may only have one chance for people to engage your site. Low usability can mean they will never return.
Looking to maximize your visitor’s experience? Contact us for help on gauging the usability of your site and advice on how to increase its usability.