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Website Usability

December 2nd, 2009

Usability is the measure of the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with a product or system - whether a web site, software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device.

According to Usability Expert Jakob Nielsen: “On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. You need a website which is easy to use! If a web site is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a web site’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here? There’s no such thing as a user reading a web site manual or otherwise spending much time trying to figure out an interface. There are plenty of other web sites available; leaving is the first line of defense when users encounter a difficulty.”
More: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html

What is usability

Is your web site usable? There are several definitions for usability, but basically the following 4 characteristics can be considered usable:

* Quick and easy to learn;
* Efficient to use;
* Allows rapid recovery from errors;
* Easy to remember;

Does your product or web site have the above characteristics? Usability increases benefits for both parties: the User (potential customers) and the Provider (yourself).

Users benefits from usability
* Users are satisfied, not frustrated, with the product or web site;
* They enjoy interacting with the web site or product;
* They achieve their goals effectively and efficiently;
* They cultivate confidence and trust in the product or web site.

If your users are satisfied, they will become loyal, and may even recommend your product to others that need a website or service you promote.

Providers benefits from usability

As a provider, you may benefit from usability in many ways, including:

* Reduced development time and costs;
* Reduced support costs;
* Reduced user errors;
* Reduced training time and costs;
* Return on Investment.

How can usability can save your company

After all, have you ever wished there was one place that contained a list of everything you need to know to make your web site user-friendly? If yes, have a look at this “User Interface Usability Checklist for Ecommerce Web sites” here: http://webnauts.net/user-interface-usability-checklist.html

Source: www.webnauts.net

“I don’t need a website, do I?” asks Bob

October 9th, 2009

Once upon a time, in a small home office, a busy entrepreneur wondered why he wasn’t quite as busy as he would like to be. “I market my business as much as possible”, said the entrepreneur, who has implemented many marketing procedures while running his business.

Our entrepreneur, we’ll call him Bob, runs a computer repair business. His services allow him to provide his clients with his expert advise, either in their offices, by email, or on the phone. Because of this, Bob has a large potential market, both locally and internationally.

Bob has a great brochure, filled with all his features and benefits; he attends as many networking events as he can; he advertises in the local newspapers; and he has a huge ad in the yellow pages. But, Bob doesn’t have a website. Why?

“I don’t need a website, do I?” asks Bob. “I do everything else possible to market my business and I also get many customers by referrals. Why would I need a website?” Read the rest of this entry »

Make your company very hard to ignore

July 16th, 2009

Let’s face it, startup founders have their hands full with a multitude of issues, large and small. Most attention is placed on the nuances of business models, viral marketing, user acquisition, etc. But an often overlooked success factor in building a web business — or any business — is design. Good design can often tip the scales in your favor; make your company very hard to ignore. In this post, I’ll explain a few important reasons why design matters so much.

1. Good design implies credibility
You only get one chance to make a first impression. When people visit your website, most won’t go through a fact-finding expedition to figure out your Series A numbers, who your investors are, and what your story is just to decide if your company can be trusted. Initial trust is a gut-feeling. The easiest way to put your company on that path is via well executed visual design that shows you put some effort, and money, into delivering a first-rate and satisfying experience to your customers. They will notice. Ignore design and you risk creating distrust of your business from day one, and driving up that bounce rate. Read the rest of this entry »