Checklist: 12 Tips on How to Improve the Usability of Your Website

Anyone who designs a website should always keep an eye on the user. After all, you can argue about taste, but whether a website is user-friendly is another matter. Terms such as usability and user experience quickly fall here.

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Anyone who designs a website should always keep an eye on the user. After all, you can argue about taste, but whether a website is user-friendly is another matter. Terms such as usability and user experience quickly fall here. But what exactly is usability and how can usability be improved?

The difference between usability and user experience

Web usability is about the user-friendliness of a website. Specifically, it is about the user reaching their goal quickly, easily and with little effort.

The term user experience encompasses something more. UX describes all experiences a user has with a product, system or service – before, during and after. The user experience is all about the overall impression.

Usability is therefore a part of the user experience. The main criteria for usability are:

  1. Effectiveness,
  2. Efficiency and
  3. Satisfaction.

The UX design (User Experience Design), in turn, deals with the development of products or services with the best possible application experience.

Why is usability important?

The advantages of usability are obvious: If the user’s requirements on a website are met quickly and successfully, he will most likely come back or even become directly to the customer. That depends on what you want to achieve with your page. In e-commerce, for example, it means that if you have had a good experience in an online shop, you will most likely shop again. Conversely, a visitor does not come back so quickly when it lacks the user-friendliness of a website.

What is good website usability?

As is often the case with design on the web, the first impression is crucial. After just a few seconds, the visitor decides whether to stay or move on. Therefore, he must immediately recognize on your side that he is right here. A well-structured layout helps with a clear user interface, which leads the visitor via meaningful links to the most relevant content.

User-friendly websites that heed the most important factors of good usability look like this:

  • What is clickable is also large enough so that it is easy to hit.
  • The layout adapts optimally to the displays of the mobile devices (responsive web design).
  • Buttons are prominent and unambiguous.
  • The possibility to contact us is uncomplicated and accessible from all sides.
  • There are no unnecessary registrations or long registration forms.
  • The search function works well.
  • No unnecessary pop-ups or (own) advertising annoys visitors.
  • The font size is easy to read and there is enough contrast between the font color and the background.
  • Texts are not too long and do not overwhelm the reader.
  • The operator guidance is intuitive.
  • The loading times are very good.

Improve usability for smartphones and tablets

Functionality counts on the go, but mobile optimization isn’t rocket science. Responsive design helps ensure that website content automatically adapts to the display of smartphones and tablets. Font sizes that are too small and too little space between elements such as buttons should be avoided. Because it’s annoying when you tap something else with your finger instead of the desired button. Instead, it is recommended:

  • A defined display area in which the user does not have to scroll or scrolls as little as possible.
  • Content and fonts adapted to the screen size.
  • An optical design based on mobile-optimized technology.

Screen space, data volume and mobile user time are limited, so easily accessible content should always be the top priority. Gimmicks like pop-ups or videos increase loading times and are just annoying.

Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see if your site is mobile-friendly.

Improve usability with usability tests

To find out how user-friendly your website is, you can conduct a usability test. This is how you find out where the problem might be and what you can improve. You should clarify the following questions beforehand:

  • What goal do you want to achieve?
  • Which target group is suitable for the usability test?
  • How would you like to take the test?

If you’re looking to improve your website, you can use eye tracking to track your users’ gaze history.

12 web usability tips as a checklist

So, what does good web usability look like? Below you will find a summary of 12 tips for good website usability. The checklist does not claim to be complete.

  1. Easy navigation

Your users should not have to think long, so you should pay attention to intuitive and simple user guidance. The home page should serve as a point of orientation and be accessible again at any time (preferably through the logo in the header).

  1. clarity

Too much information on one page? Better to set up a separate landing page and concentrate on the essentials.

  1. texts for the web

Texts should not be too long. Emphasize the most important elements of a text, preferably at the front or at the top. Eye tracking studies show that the user flies over the page in the so-called F-pattern. As a rule, he reads the headlines first, if at all. It must therefore be immediately apparent what is at stake.

  1. Guide your visitors

Bold important things in the text, use bulleted lists and call-to-action elements to tell your user what to do. The font and size should be legible. In (order) forms, progress bars give the user an idea of how much longer the process will take. Back buttons are also helpful.

  1. Useful link structures

Make it as easy as possible for the user to get further information. Links should be clearly identified by color and they should know where this link takes them. External links should open in a new browser window so that the user can quickly return to your website.

  1. Short loading times

Nothing is more annoying than endlessly loading pages. For example, you can improve page speed by compressing images.

  1. contact options

The user should not have to search long when he has a question. Therefore, your phone number, email address or a contact form should be easy to find. A live chat or a chat bot that gives a direct answer is particularly user-friendly.

  1. Mobile Optimization

Everything should also work perfectly on smartphones and tablets.

  1. fault tolerance

To err is human. You should explain possible incorrect entries and offer correction options. FAQs provide assistance.

  1. personalization

When ordering in online shops, it is a real relief for customers if existing information is automatically adopted or recommendations are made based on the profile (“You might also like this…”).

  1. Accessibility

For blind and partially sighted people, alt-tag relevant images so they can be recognized by screen reader software.

  1. Test, test, test!

There is no way around testing the user-friendliness of your website yourself, but also getting feedback from other users. A/B tests, live testing, heat maps or eye tracking are suitable tools.

Basically, you only have to keep one thing in mind for good website usability: the user. Make it as easy as possible for the user. Ideally, he shouldn’t have to think much when he’s on your website. Then he will be happy to come back and become a loyal customer. If you need professional help, please feel free to contact us. If you let us create a website for you, we automatically keep an eye on the most important points for you.

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