Category Archives: Website Usability

Is There Such a Thing as Optimal Web Design?

Published / by Sir Timan / Leave a Comment
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When talking about design across-the-board, it’s harder to define what is the best based on a singular standard, as compared to deciding which is more aesthetically pleasing than the other. After all, like most human creations, there may be no exact definition or standard to define or embody perfect design at any cost, especially given the subjective perspective by which each individual may look upon any object.

However, there is such a thing coined by many as optimal web design. Optimal, by virtue of its definition alone, already means the most favorable or desired form of any particular subject. This then translates to what is optimal web design—which is web design that best suits the tastes of the greater majority, while at the same time working within the feasibility constraints of any undertaking.

What then makes web design optimal? Web design is optimal when it seeks to provide maximum utility to users while providing business or operational viability. In this way, the designer is able to best provide for the demand of both the end consumers as well as the people who plan and conceptualize for the purpose of deriving profit.

Putting the end users in mind is another means in order to emphasize what’s in every web designer’s mind—friendlier usability for each and every user. This means taking into consideration the fact that people visit websites in order to find particular content; therefore, it is imperative that the content must always take the precedence over any other accents and extraneous designs or artwork.

The more effective web designers are not afraid to make use of white backgrounds, or generally very clean lines in their website. By limiting the use of unrelated pictures that may even cause loading the page to take longer, and adding in very integral elements like the title and an outline of the contents of the page, it brings attention back to the content over anything else.

Pictures, unless completely necessary, should be used sparingly. When it would take longer than usual to load due to the size or the volume of pictures, it is recommended to forewarn users so that they may opt out of viewing pictures and instead proceed to seeking content they need. Moreover, advertisements and their placements, when possible, must be planned so that while they will serve their purpose, they will also in no way cause distraction or distaste to the visitors of the website.

Moreover, navigation is made consistent and simple in order to make accessing content as simple and as easy as possible. After all, who’s to say if everyone who surfs the Internet have the same capacities to grasp and decipher navigational tactics and the like.

Integrate into the design a means through which each and every visitor may have access to basic information about the website and its proponents (usually in the ‘About’ page), as well as a means of access to the privacy statement of the company. After all, the latter has played a big role in building—or inversely destroying—many relationships on the Internet.

An additional means in order to have an optimal web design is by using rudimentary conventions in web design—like making clear buttons, describing links accurately, and displaying links in the conventional blue. In this manner, the website will accommodate even the older users without the same sort of grounding with the use of the computer, and will make sure that users have the least amount of trouble in just trying to access a design.

However, there are also particular selling points that will assure marketability and will reflect business viability to its necessary degree. First and foremost, aesthetic design and code design are very much limited by the resources made available by the company. It is also important that the website has the capacity to meld in with the strategies undertaken by the company.

The first consideration in the optimal business viability of a website are the limitations experienced and set in order to create it. This includes the limitations on space, the domain address, as well as the terms and conditions that a company would have to sign in order to enlist services.

Moreover, optimal web design when it comes to business applications when the website is able to integrate itself to all the collective efforts, like marketing strategies and the like, of any company hoping to gain an edge through the Internet. This means that in the end, while aesthetics play an important role, creating an optimal web design is still one that best accommodates without alienation its users, sponsors, and web design planners.

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When Web Design Gets Annoying!

Published / by Sir Timan / Leave a Comment
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The Internet is home to various artists, web artists, and designers both professional and amateur. It can afford to provide individuals with opportunities to freely explore their artistic capabilities and publish content to a borderless audience.

However, unluckily, alongside this freedom of expression afforded to everyone is the capacity to offend sensibilities. Some website provide great utility and aesthetic pleasure—others are bound to get annoying.

There are ways and means in order to avoid getting annoying, and its best to start by knowing when web design of a website does get annoying.

Using colors that just do not work

Colors in good and sensible does are a good means in order to attract attention and communicate ideas and emotions to an audience. They can help add interest to a dull site full of text, and even introduce and maintain a certain mood (as in scary websites using black as a background).

However, there is a fine line between too much and just about right. What gets annoying when it comes to colors is when readability is compromised, and combinations are too loud for comfort. When readability is compromised, it can pose great discomfort to the site’s visitors when they try to decipher the text that they want to have access to. Using too many colors and colors that do not complement each other tend to make the website look goofy and awkward, and can make the website lose whatever credibility it can possibly gain.

Too many clicks to get to the end of the road

At the end of the day, people who visit websites do so in order to access information and content in a website. Some websites tend to re-route visitors through too many clicks before they get to the content they want to get to assuming that the content is indeed somewhere in the multiple pages they are made to access. Obviously, that gets annoying. Rule of thumb says that a maximum of three clicks (but preferably less) should be enough in order for someone surfing a site to get to the information they want to get to.

Excessive graphics that take too long to load

Graphics and pictures, when relevant and are the primary content meant for the website, are a welcome part of a website. However, when they just serve the purpose of aesthetic enhancement, graphics and pictures that take too long to load—and inevitably, slow the process of accessing primary content—become a major reason for discontent and displeasure among visitors.

It is also helpful to note that not all visitors of the website are equipped with optimal download or Internet surfing speeds; excessive graphics that are too large and thus, take too long to load are not only unwelcome but also a great inconvenience to a great number of people.
Navigation that’s over-the-top and difficult to follow

Overcomplicating the navigation of the website can greatly hamper the efficacy of the website to communicate its content, and can hurt the accessibility of many pages to its visitors. At any point during their visit to a site, it is important to assure that the visitors have some way in order to trace back their steps and return to content they previously accessed, as well as carry on with accessing other content.

For simplicity’s sake, many websites solve this problem by having a constant button present on all pages for visitors to return to their main menu page, or their cover page.

Fonts that simply do not work

Depending on the browser and fonts installed by the users on their computers, extremely decorative and highly uncommon fonts may not be displayed the way the web designer intended them to appear—and may oftentimes even compromise the readability of the text per se.

In order to avoid this from happening, many web designers opt to stay within the bounds of major font families (Helvetica, verdana, and the like). That way, they are assured that most (if not all) of their visitors will be viewing the site as designed, and thus have greater control of the way the page will be displayed in the end.

There is never a ‘perfect’ template for design as it is open to the subjectivity and artistic limitations of designers. However, understanding the behavior of site visitors can only help make shape design innovation and utility move towards greater heights.

Well-designed Headings to Improve Usability of Website

Published / by Sir Timan / Leave a Comment
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When people go online in order to seek information, they usually end up utilizing means in order to best find the content they are looking for. At the end of the day, when they are able to determine if a web page contains the information they are looking for, they become better equipped in searching, deciphering, and even choosing the information they want to access at any given point, but particularly through search engines.

Headings play a particularly important role when it comes to finding information online, and secondly, facilitating the use of the website within which the content or information desired is to be found. It can be illustrated in two-fold scenarios, one before the website is found, and one when the user is already within the website.

Headings in hypertext protocol or HTML are a group of text rich with content, usually composed of primary keywords that give a clue or idea about the content of the website. In general terms, a heading is a line or hierarchical label that informs the users as to the content of the website, alongside pertinent information as regards the nature of this content.

When it comes to searching for particular websites, headings play a pivotal role in having the page show up at all in the results of any search engine query. Search engines, when they ‘crawl’ through the Internet looking for relevant information and related websites, usually put into consideration the heading. Headings are so important here that in order to search engine optimize one’s website, many believe that it must then contain major keywords that truly characterize the content of the page.

Moreover, aside from the HTML content rich code headings, it’s also important to put primacy upon the heading that is present within the main text body displayed on the website. This is the huge hierarchical label or title that gives the readers an idea of what is contained in the page.

In search engine results, these in-text headings are extremely important because they are what most search engines use in order to label each individual link derived from the search. This then can then determine if the user will find the heading relevant enough to the search he or she is looking for. By providing an efficient heading, one is already providing a great convenience to the user by making the website readily accessible and usable.

More importantly, once the user is already within the realms of the website, headings in particular guide them as they explore its complete contents. When the heading reflects effectively the very content of a single page, the website as a whole is made more usable as no page is designed to mislead the user into thinking the information he or she is looking for is within that page.

Another great function of headings in a website that may be used to subdivide various information contained in them is that it facilitates the scanning through of information of users in a page. As it is, users are oftentimes not interested on the content found in its entirety in a page, but only a particular part of it. By allowing them to be guided by headings, websites become more usable, friendly, and convenient for all its users.

Moreover, it gives users a general idea about the hierarchical structure of the website and how information is organized. The flow of this information, and the understanding of the users of this particular flow, is of importance to users as this could very well determine their understanding of the concepts explored in the information presented.

Headings also imply that when users scan for information they need selectively, they may pick out particular portions of the text in between headings without necessarily compromising understandability and being taken out of context.

The most convenient use of headings is when text-heavy pages utilize a small portion of table of contents at the top of the page, where the information is subdivided into their respective headings. In this way, users are already able to have a general understanding of what the website contains in a direct and straightforward manner. Thus, if the table of contents is also link-activated, it will allow for them to skip only to the information they need.

At the end of the day, headings improve a website’s usability by simplifying information made available to users and organizing them into a format most convenient. It allows for users to first, find the information they need through a search engine, and once within the website, determine and scan through the text easily in order to find the information they need in a short time and with very little trouble.

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Website Usability Tips

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Web usability according to research, was proven to be the most significant factor in web design. In fact, it is the influential element that keeps visitors returning to your site.

Usually the most overlooked aspect when designing a website, nonetheless in actuality, usability has power over the web. When your visitors can not easily navigate your site, chances are, he will not utilize your library in search for information and just go to other sites. Note that all sites are just a click of the mouse away. Hundreds of thousands of other online stores that offer the same services or products as you are crowding the internet, making online shoppers more selective and choosy when concluding whether to stay and continue their browsing or just leave.

The internet offers online shoppers ample freedom and various choices; nobody will ever waste their time on a poorly constructed website. In order to provide web usability, you must involve or think of your prospect clients in designing it.

Not like a traditional “brick and mortar” store, a lot of online stores or websites do not permit their visitors to “walk through” inside the site as they can in a traditional store set-up. While this may seem an unworkable task to accomplish, if done correctly, a “user-friendly” approach to web design will easily accomplish this task.

When online shopping, all things must to be located where visitors expect them to be at. The practice of flooding a client with abundant item choices all at the same time and making them search for certain items that they need, is most definitely not the concept of web usability.

Your visitors must be taken into consideration all throughout your planning as well as designing process. Bear in mind that web usability must never be considered after the construction of a website.

Fixing and then testing your website only after construction is useless and will not yield satisfactory results. Your best approach would be to combine a replica of “pervasive usability” unto your web design and construction process.

According to surveys, here are top 12 reasons why visitors want to go back to your site:

• Easy navigation 74%

• Quick download time 65%

• Frequently updated information 58%

• Content quality 57%

• Content quantity 30%

• Content organization 40%

• Prompt customer service 40%

• Website search tools 25%

• Layout of homepage 20%

• Enjoyment 19%

• Website appearance 18%

• Inclusion of animated graphics 9%

Basing from these reasons, here are usability tips to help you design your website:

1. Become familiar with your visitors based on their preferences. You need a website with personality as well as content quality that accommodates your visitor’s taste; you should understand and recognize their color choices, technical skills, etc.

2. Create obvious and simple interface. The more apparent and recognizable the web interface is, then your visitors never have to undergo frustration in guessing how your site really works, and instead on concentrating on the interface, they should be concentrating on your site’s content.

3. Website readability. Create “easy to read” paragraph, not using small text or font size.

4. Quick loading. You need a fast downloadable page as visitors hate to wait.

5. Avoid hidden navigation, as your visitors need to know where and what to click in order to go someplace.

6. Get visitor feedbacks so you will know what is working and what does not. Learn from your prospects.

7. Investigate on website visitor performance. Determine how long it takes to perform a certain task? It should not take too long, the faster the better. If not, work on your user interaction so to improve performance.

8. Provide a help section. If your website visitor does make a certain mistake, then they truly will appreciate it if you provide ways to assist them. “404 page” is great for directing “spiders” to crawl unto your webpage.
Testing for usability

Testing for usability is not complicated and very inexpensive to carry out. The easiest answer is to design a simple sequence of undertakings for web users to carry out trials.

Invite people or friends to your workplace, then request them to navigate your website, watching and observing while they surf. Do not wait when your website is done before you test it; test it now.

The work can be simple like finding out a product’s information or finding out how a certain firm can be contacted or one can order a product and finding shipping policies information.

After testing, fix any problem and test it again. Continue testing and refining web usability of your website until such time that there are no problems found, that the experience is efficient and pleasant.

Remember that website usability is concerned to not just the appearance of a site, but more importantly how your site performs and particularly, it gives emphasis on the experience of your visitors.

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Website Interface And Usability

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Usability study normally precedes the interface and technical design of the website construction process, which involves establishment of complete user profiles, creation of the interface model or sample and extensive user testing.

The ideal web interface design demands for organized approach in the designing process. However, to guarantee optimal performance, web usability testing is needed. This domain testing allows inexperienced users to supply data regarding what really is working, as have been expected and then what is not working. Only as soon as the subsequent repairs are constructed and done can a website be considered to achieve optimized user interface.

This procedure, though in several cases takes a few repetitions, provide the necessary and important information and evidence for the finished web interface functionality and design, resulting in a website interface that conveys clear messages to visitors, regarding where they actually are, easily predict what is about to happen as well as where buttons will take them and what they need to do to accomplish their goals. The ease and simplicity of all these activity is what defines a usable website.

The experience of the user is the main factor to acceptance; this is where interface design comes in the designing process. Whereas product engineers give emphasis on technology, specialists in website usability concentrate on user interface.

The significance of a great interface user design is the driving force of a product’s acceptance or rejection.

If visitors have hard time learning and using, a complicated website, even an excellent product can fail. Interface design must make your product simple to use and understand, so that it results to user acceptance.

Here are guidelines for creating website usability:

• System status. Your system must always update users regarding what is happening, through correct feedback within a reasonable time.

• Simple words. Make sure that your website speaks the language of your visitors, having phrases or words familiar to them. Construct information that appears in a most natural tone and in consistent order.

• User freedom and control. Note that internet users at times encounter mistakes in system functions and need an “emergency exit” in order to easily leave that undesirable situation. Support in your system “undo and redo”.

• Consistency. Visitors must not need to question whether different situations, words or actions represent the similar things. Follow platform principles or guidelines.

• Retrievable instructions. Making actions, options and objects visible and easily retrievable. Your visitors do not need to remember certain information from a particular part of a dialogue “to another”.

• Efficiency and flexibility of use. Use accelerators to speed up interaction between experts and the system. Construct it in such manner you’re your system is able to cater both the experienced and inexperienced users. Permit users to customize frequent actions.

• Users help. Display error messages in plain and simple language that accurately indicate what the problem is and then propose a solution.

User interface and design principles:

1. Structure. Your web design must establish user interface persistently, in useful and meaningful ways that are based on consistent and clear models easily recognizable; put all related and similar things together.

2. Simplicity. Design your website simply, making common tasks easy to do, clearly communicating in the language of the user, and providing shortcuts that meaningfully are related to those longer procedures.

3. Visibility. Design your website that it keeps all materials and options visible without disrupting your visitors with redundant or extraneous information. Never overwhelm your visitors with too much alternatives.

4. Feedback. Your design must keep your visitors well informed of certain actions, changes of condition, errors or certain exceptions which are of interest and relevant to them through concise and clear language.

5. Tolerance. Your design must be tolerant at the same time flexible, reducing misuse and mistakes by permitting “undo and redo”. Likewise prevent errors from occurring by accepting different sequences and inputs by translating all logical actions.

How your website interface is designed either makes or breaks your business. Although website functionality is a significant factor, the manner by which it imparts that functionality or user performance is likewise as important. A website that is hard to manage will not be used at all. Period.

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