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Usability Tips

Navigation Related Usability Tips

Consistent navigation and search feature present on each page
It is your most important usability tools you can offer to a website user.

Always have a consistent link to the home page
When a user is "lost" the "home" page is the main navigation reference, also you should still have a link home, because you never know how someone will get to the site.

Company Logo Is Linked to Home-page
This may sound minor, but people expect logos to link to home-pages, and when they don't, confusion follows. I've seen video of users clicking on a logo over and over, with no idea what to do next.

Number of Links Is Reasonable

Build a Site Map
The site map is not only the Search engine optimisation. Real people use them! The bigger your site, the more you need one.

The 3 questions you should ask on every pages.
According to Web usability expert, Jakob Nielsen, a good navigation system should answer three questions:

 Where am I?
 Where have I been?
 Where can I go?

Improving Readability

Not too much text!
Make it easy for them to find what they want and get more info. People don't read all the text, they scan the pages. Just write what is necessary and provide a link if they want to get more information.
Arrange the position of your elements
Typically you will want to place your most important elements in the upper left side of the page. The further right and down you go, the less emphasis in placed on an element. Many designers make mistakes they put less important links ( jobs, about us ... ) on the most important position. Customer will look for your products and services first, so put them first.
Use a san serif font
Use a san serif font for when people are viewing body text on a monitor, and a serif font for when they get a printable version of the page. Also you can Use bold for emphasis ( don't use underlines, making confusion with links ). The text should be easy to scan.

Ecommerce Usability Tips

Identify users with their e-mail address
How many different usernames do you use for ecommerce website accounts? Now, how many different e-mail addresses do you use for ecommerce website accounts? I'd wager that you not only have fewer e-mail addresses, but also that you find it much easier to remember your e-mail address, than your username.

Tell users where they are and where they're going
Isn't it awful when you're on a journey and you don't know how far you've been, or how far you still have to go. Well it can be just as frustrating for users when they're trying to buy something online and they don't know how many more steps are required before finally making the purchase. This is why it's important to let users know where they are in the ordering process, and how far they have to go. For example, Dixons shows the current ordering step, and the steps still to go:
Delivery > Payment > Order confirmation

Analyse the customer frequent questions or check why they call for the same reason
If your customers consistenly call for the same topic, it's probably because they could not find the information, it's logic !
Definitely have the customer on the phone ask a question or two about the site while they are at it. It's as good as talking about the weather (or better) as a conversation opener. It may not be as good as conducting ongoing weekly usability testing, but it can help to get regular input from customers. By all means, count your self fortunate to be in a situation where you can get customer responses about a site. If you get a lot of those questions, consider conducting some usability testing.

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TOP 10 tips to improve your website Usability

Don't put too much text!

Make page content easy to scan. Keep Content as Concise as Possible
Users don't read the text on your page, they scan it. You'll spend hours - maybe days - writing your page content and it's really annoying to think that visitors may read less than half of it. Format your content so that it's easy to scan. Emphasize important points (or product characteristics) with a combination of header tags, bold type, color, or lists.

It's pretty well known that web users have very short attention spans and that we don't read articles thoroughly and in their entirety. A study investigating the changes in our reading habits behaviors in the digital age concluded that we tend to skim webpages to find the information we want.

Get to the point as quickly as possible.
Cut out unnecessary information.
Use easy-to-understand, shorter, common words and phrases.
Avoid long paragraphs and sentences.

Clear and simple navigation

According to Web usability expert, Jakob Nielsen, a good navigation system should answer three questions:

Where am I?
Where have I been?
Where can I go?

Home page link inside your main navigation

Visitors may enter your site via an internal page, but hopefully they'll want to head for the home page next.

Company Logo Is Linked to Home-page
This may sound minor, but people expect logos to link to home-pages, and when they don't, confusion follows. I've seen video of users clicking on a logo over and over, with no idea what to do next.

Place your most important content high on the page

Don't save the best for last.
Place your most important content high on the page. Think of a newspaper: the top story is always prominently displayed above the fold. Check your page display at in a number of different screen resolutions to make sure that your most important content is visible when the page loads.

Keep it consistent

Use a Web site template to enforce a uniform page structure. Visitors should be able to predict the location of important page elements after visiting just one page in your site.
Visitors should never click on an internal link in your site and wonder if they've left your Web site. Choose your colors and fonts carefully and use them consistently throughout the site.

Just say NO to splash pages

unless your entire website is essentially a splash page (a single-item promotion site, like for a movie), don't annoy visitors by surprising them with a full-page ad when they're expecting your website. Put the promotion content on your home page instead, so it's still immediately-visible while giving visitors the choice on whether to act on it or not – for example, they're in a hurry and want to click on a menu item, not be greeted with a full-page ad.

Clear and Short domain name and links as short as possible

Having clear and short permalinks on your website not only makes it easier for people to share the URLs – since they fit easier in places where they're pasted – but you reassure them what they're reading or about to read, since they can clearly see what the page/post will be about, rather than a bunch of gibberish like numbers and symbols.

Don't Worry About the Vertical Scrolling

There has long been a myth that all of your important content should be above "the fold," a term borrowed from newspapers that refers to the area of a web page that can be seen without having to scroll down

So, are long pages bad? Should we cram everything at the top of our web layouts because people won't ever read anything below this fold?

The answer is "No" according to a report by Clicktale, a web analytics company. Their results showed that the length of the page has no influence in the likelihood that a user will scroll down the page.

So don't load too much intense content on the first section of your site. By having a more clear navigation, you will invite users to scroll down the page.

Don't Design Misleading links & UI Controls

Don't design graphic elements that looks like a button, but is not. We often see text that is underlined and looks like links, but are not clickable. By not having the action that the users were expecting, they would think that the site is broken and eventually leave. One other important usability tip regarding UI controls is consistency:

Structure your Typography Carefully

Typography is another whole can of worms included in the subset of design. You don't need to master creating your own font or how to display individual custom letters in digital text. However as a designer holding a basic understanding of typography with usability tactics can work wonders. A poisonous myth passed around the design community is how great smaller font sizes are. Arial set to 11px may look clean and professional but it's awful when it comes to user experience. Setting your paragraphs to a more-than-readable size is highly recommended, especially with mobile users growing.

Be sure to add plenty of breathing room between your page content as well. Nobody wants to try and read 15 paragraphs of tightly bunched-up text split by a few headings. The CSS line-height property is a very useful yet under-utilized setting. This property sets how much space is placed between each line in a paragraph or in headings and other typographic elements.

When you get into developing page styles with CSS the workload is much simpler. By this I mean it's much simpler to change a numerical value in your CSS compared to editing an entire PSD document. Try messing around with different values of line-height to see which works best for your design.

Preparing the test

What should i ask?

Set tasks that are essential to the new site's success, such as:

Buying products
Paying bills
Contacting the client

The site was built for a reason - can your target audience do what you need them to do?

It's also a good idea to ask the user to suggest tasks. While this gives another indication of their expectations and requirements, it may suggest new functionality or priorities

How many users do i need ?

Effective User Testing Doesn't Have To Be Extensive

Jakob Nielsen's study on the ideal number of test subjects in usability tests found that tests with just five users would reveal about 85% of all problems with your website, whereas 15 users would find pretty much all problems.

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