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Web Usability Guidelines.

7 Principles for Website Form and Fit!


It's hard to define what a usable website is in just a couple words...

It includes so many fundamental concepts of development to define it in such a summarized way.

I find it more effective to define it in terms of all the things that contribute to a positive user experience using these web usability guidelines...

 

Availability on the Internet is Vital for Usability.

For a website to be usable, and for it to provide any kind of user experience, it needs to be available for its intended users... it must be found on the internet.

What good is a website's navigation or functionality, as great as they may be, if it's invisible to its users?

In this regard, optimization efforts are essential.

Optimization is a vital part of usability.

Users don't see it... they're not necessarily aware of the keywords you've chosen to optimize for, if they're included in your headlines, or how many heading tags you've included.

Optimization is usually transparent for the user.

But it's what you must do to make your websites available.

 

Potential Customers Want to Recognize the True Identity of Your Internet Business.

Your internet business needs a website that accurately represents its brandable identity...

And like with the element of availability, it has more to do with assuring your website's continued use, than with its "mechanical" usability.

The presence of a brandable identity is an initial sign of an internet business website's quality and potential worth.

As such it gives customers reason to want to "use" your websites... to look deep within them, and to actively to "pursue" the content within.

 

Relevancy is a Vital Contributor to Usability.

Relevancy is an essential element of an internet business website's usability...

It really doesn't matter how good your navigation menus look or how visible your links are if the content they lead to isn't relevant... it's simply of no use to users in satisfying their true intentions.

 

An Website's Basic Structure Must Be Designed With Customers' Intentions in Mind.

It's a logical architecture that progressively guides users deeper within your websites and into their content in a way that doesn't distract them from what they can came to do...

Because again, what reason will customers have in using your websites if they don't effectively satisfy their real intentions and purposes?

 

Functionality is a Key Factor in Terms of Usability.

It's amazing to see how many commercial websites don't function properly...

Some include links to unavailable content sections or to webpages "under construction". You'll even run into many that still are "best viewed with some browser or other".

A website's functionality is fundamental for its effective use...

The absence of it is not only inexcusable with so many tools readily available to internet entrepreneurs to assure proper function, but it's also a clear sign of sheer carelessness and is extremely unprofessional.

Before you publish a website or any new pages to an existing one, make sure that everything is tested, complete, properly linked to, and totally ready for "consumption".

 

Users Expect a Clear and Logical Navigation.

Your website's navigation scheme is more than just your "navbars" and internal linking structure.

Think of it as the whole set of features that should be included in your websites that help guide your customers through a specific experience of value.

You should want to give your website's users the freedom to look within them as they please, but also guide them as much as possible to "consume" content in a way that satisfies your own goals.

This implies several things...

An effective navigation scheme must help users understand how a particular website is structured so they can browse through its pages and find what they want quickly and easily, in a logical and ordered manner.

Also, users should know each page's exact location within the website with regard to all others for them to know "what to do, or where to go next"...

So beyond your "links and navbars", your navigation scheme should also include whenever possible, features like a clearly visible breadcrumb trail, a general sitemap, links to all sub-pages within a content section, etc.

 

Simplicity is the Prime Contributor to Usability.

Try to keep things as simple as possible... remember that one as the most vital and important of all web usability guidelines.

Don't overwhelm your users with useless "bells and whistles" because beyond an esthetically pleasing design, and an effective navigation scheme it really goes to waste.

Users don't necessarily need, or even look for design complexity beyond a certain point. All they have is an intention that must be satisfied by a quality and worthwhile solution...

That's all there's to it. Specially with commercial websites!

So the sooner you present your users with that solution, the more productive their sessions will be and you'll have inspired in them an experience they'll come back to again and again.

Return to "Value Via Functionality" from "Essential Web Usability Guidelines for Optimum Performance"

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