What is the basic idea behind putting up a website? Well, in the least, it is to:
These are however just one side of the coin; the other side being customer experience. Yes, while your website is your business’ window to the world, it is your customers’ bridge also to reach you and connect with you. Naturally, this bridge should be minus any pothole. So, how do you ensure that the ride for your customer is worry-free? The first and the foremost thing you need to ensure is focus on the usability quotient of your website!
Marketing a product online is very different from all the other forms of marketing (via TV, radio, print, etc.). This is because on a web portal, you also allow your customers the facility to interact with you right there and then. This makes the usability quotient rather important because unless your website facilitates the interaction, you sure would lose a valuable customer. A highly usable system therefore is one that offers benefits to both – the users and your business.
This brings us to the second most important question which is how can one enhance the usability of a website?
To do this, check:
Unless your website fulfills the above, you can’t be sure about its usability.
Improving the user experience (UX) is about measuring and enhancing the usefulness of a website. For real-time insights, refer to customer feedback. There are plenty of tools available to help you collect this data; choose one that best fits your system and budget.
Gauge the effectiveness of your web property by checking whether or not a user can find what she set out for. How comfortable is she with your website’s navigation and task flows? If she can achieve her goals with minimum investment of her efforts, it means that you have done a pretty good job.
Ease of using the interface
How easily can a user, not familiar with your website’s interface, be able to use it? This is definitely the toughest test to pass.
Efficiency of using the interface
Besides the ease, speed matters too. How fast can a user complete a task on your website? From finding a product to making a purchase – how long will it take for her to confirm this?
To make sure that you enjoy the benefits of returning visitors, you have also to check the memorability factor. Ensure that your users can remember your website enough to not only come back looking for other products subsequently but also to be able to use the interface effectively and enjoy a personal connect.
Can your user complete her task without encountering an error? How often do errors crop up on your website? It needs to be an error-free system. It is easy to recognize an error and a trend in this (frequent errors) can directly hamper your business. So, find the errors yourself before someone (a potential customer) does it for you.
Satisfaction is the key for usability. How much do your users like using your system? How much are they satisfied using the system? And, importantly, how satisfied are they to recommend your business to others?
User Centric Design enables you to test your design multiple times before it is made live. This helps you find errors and fix them timely. To assist you in this, you have the NCPI method. The NCPI -- Navigation, Content, Presentation, and Interaction method allows you several opportunities to boost the usability of your website and take customer satisfaction several notches higher. Some testing opportunities include:
Satisfaction surveys to gauge website performance
Just as you may encounter challenges in the other aspects related to website designing, there are risks here too. You may face the below while attempting to boost the usability factor:
Challenge #1: Confusing navigation
The most common usability problem that users face is not finding their desired content or product. Poorly designed navigation systems account for 80% of observed usability problems. (Percentage based on HFI’s 35 years of collective design and usability testing experience)
A typical user experience comprises:
Challenge #2: Confusing content
The key component of a website is its content. There should be absolute clarity in the content and the messaging; undivided focus only is what is required here.
Challenge #3: Confusing presentation
Equally important is the visual presentation of the content on your website that can help a user better understand your product and your offering. Listed below are factors that contribute to effective presentation of the design:
Challenge #4: Confusing interaction
Interaction is significant too. The point where a visual design is processed and human action is initiated is of utmost importance – it can either trigger a sale or send back a dissatisfied customer. Therefore, your website should offer the required clarity that can ease any confusion that may have cropped up during the process.
As is evident from the above, usability is a very important method for the survival of a product or website in the digital marketplace. Testing can and should be done in each stage of the design process to identify errors and fix them. By fortifying the usability criteria of your website, you can make it a masterpiece and have long-lasting relationship with your customers.