Website Usability and the User's Experience

Usability on the web is a topic that a lot of designers and business owners don't seem to have a grasp on. For web designers this is an issue because a lot of feel that a good, creative design must not be held hostage to standard usability requirements. While this is sometimes true, the real challenge is for a web designer to appeal to their audience. If their audience is artsy and imagining something cutting-edge, then the designer can feel free to express themselves completely for the reason that their audience will imagine this. A great sample of this is the website. This site is completely Flash based and mixes 3d with great sound effects. Language barriers asides, this site is hard to use but it is worth trying to figure out. Learn more about  user experience strategy, go here. 

From a small business owner's perspective, they want to make sure no clients are lost so usability must be the primary aspect when planning the website. Nothing says "Buy from us" like a great looking site in which a client cannot figure out how to add an item to a shopping cart. Then, a website that doesn't look expert will turn customers away. So finding an ample mix of professional looks with good usability will go a long way with your possible clients. Find out for further details on  customer experience strategy right here. 

Reduce Clicks
One significant factor to making a website easier to navigate is reducing the alleged number of clicks it takes to get to a page. I say perceived because if your site is well organized and categorized you can have the user click a few times to get to something without it seeming like it. Also, understanding that not all users use websites the way you or I do is significant. So giving users a variety of ways of doing the same thing is important.

For instance, I recently had the privilege of being a beta-tester for a new CRM tool. The first thing I noticed was there was several ways to do the same task. The duplicating of links really works for the reason that some users might never look at the one on the left and others might not look under the tabs, so this makes it easy for both types of users.

Another aspect of usability is keeping the primary links or navigation of a site in the expected locations. This is usually at the top or left hand side of the screen. NEVER put your navigation at the bottom or the right side. Take a look at this link for more information.