Why Usability matters more than ever 2

Why Usability matters more than ever

The expectations of users are constantly changing. Yesterday’s breakthrough in usability is today’s norm, and the older, more dated ways of doing things quickly become an irritation. Users are always expecting faster, more efficient experiences, and the definition of this evolves constantly.

  • What is considered ‘usable’ is constantly changing
  • Yesterday’s usability breakthroughs are tomorrow’s expectations
  • The most successful websites are laser focused on the keeping up with the user

For example, as users have become annoyed with constantly having to type in usernames and passwords, and with so many accounts, people regularly forget their details. So, brands like Google, Amazon, Yahoo are working on eliminating the need for this by allowing you to use your phone as your key to accessing accounts even if you’re on a desktop. You can even use voice and fingerprint recognition to access some apps and accounts.

This makes such a difference to the user’s experience will quickly become the norm and as such, anything that doesn’t quickly to these new trends will be frustrating their customers. This is just another reason why always keeping UX in mind is so important.

Usability impacts every single website visit. It’s the experience people have whilst browsing through your website. People’s attention spans are short, shorter than a goldfish apparently, therefore, you only have a very limited amount of time to catch their eye and keep them interested.

Research has shown that thanks to smartphones, the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. Plus, when people are online, they tend to be very impatient. If your website doesn’t work properly, is difficult to understand or takes ages to load, people will get frustrated and leave. 61% of users will move to another site if they don’t find what they are looking for right away.

It doesn’t matter if your website is the best looking site anyone’s ever seen, if it doesn’t work as it should, no one will actually use it. As such, keeping up with usability trends has become not just essential for good conversion rates, but a matter of survival.

For many reasons, usability matters now more than ever. Here then are some basic rules to ensure your site is always usable:

The most successful websites are laser focused on the user

As mentioned above, beautiful websites might look spectacular, but without usability, they are practically useless. Usability helps ensure your website is designed with the user in mind so that when they come to use your website, it meets their expectations.

On top of this, search engines are all about what’s best for the user, so your website will be more likely to rank better if it’s user-friendly. Did you know that the Google founders attended usability classes at Stanford University?

By running regular qualitative testing on your product or service can ensure that not only is it usable in objective terms, but is also staying relevant to what a user ‘expects’ of an experience in a rapidly changing landscape.

Create easy, logical navigation

Your goal is to get your website visitors to convert, which means creating easy, logical navigation. If people can’t find the page they are after or don’t understand how to use your website they will simply leave and move on to a competitor.

There’s a lot of psychology that goes into creating websites that are easy to use, because to create a straightforward, logical website, you have to understand how the human brain works.

Imagine a website like the London Underground, people need to be able to easily navigate where they want to go. There may be several different routes to get where they want, but they will usually go for the fastest, easiest route with the least stops along the way.

Usability testing can help you to understand what’s going on in someone’s mind when they browse your site and why they make certain choices. It can help to you evaluate what’s working and what isn’t and figure out easier routes for people to get to where you want them to be on your site.

Converting website visitors and increasing sales

Companies with highly effective UX have increased their revenue by 37%. In such a competitive marketplace, where it’s hard to even get a visitor to your website in the first place, you can’t afford to let them leave. Your website needs to serve them with the most exquisite user experience and ensure they convert before they leave the site. You’ve only got a small window of opportunity to present a visitor with the right information, in the right way. UX can help you to make sure you achieve this, every single time.

It’s also extremely important to consider how your site performs on a mobile, as this is how most people browse the web these days. Statistics show that 67% of customers are more likely to purchase on mobile friendly sites.

Positive interactions with your brand

Positive emotions and experiences can help to build brand loyalty. The shopping experience your customers have on your website is just as important as the experience the have when they walk into a shop. They should receive first class customer service and have a fast and efficient experience. If they leave your website disgruntled and irritated, they will associate with your brand in a negative way, and you will lose them to your competitors.

Usability and UX has a huge impact on the success of your website

Usability plays a huge role in the overall user experience. As such, the success of your website, and consequently your business relies hugely on how well a user interacts with your websites or mobile apps. It can have an enormous impact on your revenue: Airbnb attributes user experience for taking them from near failure to being valued at $10 billion. If you used the site early on you will have noticed how awkward it was to use. This is a perfect example of how user experience can have a direct impact on the success of a company.

 

Andrew Machin
Andrew Machin

With over 15 years’ experience in web design and digital marketing Andrew has helped many brands, both in the UK and US, create exceptional digital experiences, from websites to in-store retail experiences, such as John Lewis, Jet2, Virgin Holidays and Interflora.

Through the success of such projects Andrew has received accolades that include high-profile awards that span innovation, strategy, design and results such as the Dadi Grand Prix Award and the Digital Impact Award for Innovation.

This experience has led to Andrew judging digital design awards, been featured in .net magazine, lecturing at Leeds university and speak at seminars and conferences across the UK.

Follow Andrew @The_Machin

Articles: 108

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