Web Usability: Top 10 Tips

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With bounce rate and time-on-site assumed being the top trump cards in Google’s new algorithm; there exists most certainly a push from Google - and subsequently advertisers - for websites to become more user, as well as search engine, friendly. Read on to find our top tips for enhancing the user experience including everything from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and rich media, to navigation and mobile device optimization.

1. Faster is definitely better.
It is not a newsflash that speed and load time rule the net. Every second an individual has to wait, the extra likely they are to depart your site. If you’re experiencing some lag time, try reducing the number of HTTP requests by simplifying the design, using CSS and CSS Sprites, combining images in a single file, and reusing elements - like page headers - that may reload from the cache. You can also make the illusion of speed by placing style sheets inside the header. This will permit the header and navigation menus to load first thereby showing progress and pacifying user impatience.

2. Simply site navigation.
The foundation to each and every webpage could be the sitemap and navigation. Clear and concise menus are essential as well as a single page showing all links. Online reading patterns lend themselves on the typical “F” pattern (example below). To ensure that the user can easily connect to your content, keep a relatively short list of menu option down the left side and across the superior. Be sure that all navigation info stays above the fold understanding that the logo links back to the homepage. Intuitive navigation outlasts amount of clicks, so just forget about that 3-click rule. Not to imply that the user will stand out a lengthy path, but ultimately clicks don’t cause user frustration, poorly organized sites do.
Example of F shaped reading pattern

3. Embed Rich Media
Tickers, videos, animation along with other rich media options have changed the landscape of the web and help keep an individual on your website for longer while they interact with more content options. Nowhere is this more valuable than you are on education, news and entertainment sites. The biggest hurtle to conquer with rich media embeds is software compatibility. Consider using a third-party hosting site like youtube.com and embedding the video directly on your website. This will level the compatibility playing field and remove the server-hosting burden from you.

4. Optimize for Mobile Devices
While designing (or redesigning) your internet site, the necessity to factor in mobile phones is pressing. There are several schools of thought regarding site optimization, though the most all-encompassing and user-friendly choice is to simply utilize same URLs as the standard website. Strip on the site content to only the bare essentials. Simplicity is from the name of the game. Avoid using scripting languages or Flash components, as most devices are not equipped to aid them. Keep in mind small screens and rehearse small graphics or ads and content which are scalable.

5. Bookmarking
Listing your site on social bookmark submitting websites like Digg can drive quality website visitors to your way and bump your page views. It can also possess a cascade affect where a person will tag your web site for just one more site where one more user will tag it again, and so on. Bookmarking is often a handy tool which is relatively easy and doesn’t need a ton of time and energy to achieve.

6. Utilize Social Media links.
Social media sites have got over the way users share information with each other. Give viewers a great way to link content they enjoy from your web site to their profiles. Not only will it spread the saying, it'll likewise get the attention of like-minded users who will not only click beyond curiosity, they're going to probably spend quality time on your web site which will help bolster your chances in the internet search engine pool.

Examples of Social Media Icons


7. Clearly Identify and Brand.

Brand identity is crucial in all forms of media, but is most important on a large and complicated website. Be sure the company’s logo or name is clear inside header. Choose, colors, fonts and graphic treatments compliant with brand style guides and reinforce that appear to be at every opportunity. The more comfortable the user is with the design and style, the greater familiar they are with the brand name and are more likely to revisit time and time again.

8. Search Bars are Essential
The more complicated the site, greater essential the search bar . For user ease, stick on the tried and true method having an input field plus a “submit” or “go” button located at the top, right with the page. Design the search bar cleanly using the font and color style already established for that overall look. In regards to search fields, less is a bit more. Take Google as an example (see below), all of their brand was made upon the search bar plus it remains easy and straightforward.
Example of Google Search Field

9. Strategically use Keywords and Titles
Be true to your articles. Of late, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become all the rage, but don’t sell your digital soul for a couple of extra clicks. Google is working hard to filter and outsmart spammers who abuse the algorithm. Instead of getting caught up within the hype and fortifying your website with endless keywords, target how the person would try to find your information and what words some may use. Be strategic in your keyword choices and get on the kernel with the matter to effectively garner the most important audience who will also spend essentially the most time looking through your articles.

10 Design. Design. Design.
Place big, attention-grabbing headlines above the fold, but don’t be overly concerned about making an individual scroll. If you’ve successfully filled your website with quality content that is certainly organized and clearly designed, scrolling won’t deter a user. The presentation of knowledge requires a designer’s eye to make sure a site that is both aesthetically and functionally sound.

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