Usability rules for beginners

In this article I will give some advises for those people who try to build web site themselves and don’t have experience in programming. Is it possible to build a user-friendly site attractive for people? Yes, it is. If you adhere usability rules. Usability means ease of use and learnability of the web site. It is one of the main requirements to the site.

So, the first thing you should do is to define: who is your visitor? Site made “for everyone” will hardly be of any use, that is why you should know your visitor’s “face”. You should choose the design, font size, images and background that will satisfy and will be convenient for the visitors – it is the first step of usability measures. Understand who your visitor is.

The second usability rule – “30 seconds rule”. Statistics tells that for the first time user stays on the site for the 30 seconds, and during these 30 seconds he decides whether to stay there or not. Build a site where user can receive main information he came for without additional page scrolling and surfing through various site sections. Remove the ads that are not yours and that occludes all page and also place everything important in the part of the page that visitor sees first when he comes to it. Respect his time.

Next rule – “User is always right”. Make an easy-to-use design for a certain category of audience. Don’t hide registration button if the site needs it, use clear and visible navigation menu and write words without slang. Talk one language with your visitors.

The fourth rule is: “User must understand what is going on when he presses the buttons”. It is very important especially for e-commerce sites. For example user presses “Order” or “Complete” button and… nothing is going on. He is confused – what has happened? That is why it is highly important to comment all user’s actions, like “Your order has been sent for processing. Our manager will connect with you within…”, or “The message wasn’t sent because you didn’t fill …” – indicate what is wrong with the message. And it is very important to place all comments on one page – where user filled the form.

Next rule: “Ask your user only necessary information”. A big number of unnecessary questions in the order form irritates people and most of them would prefer to cancel order and go to another site with simpler and shorter web form. So if you downloaded a ready form and embedded in your site, it is advisable for you to use a web form generator (phpforms or any other) and build your own customizable form that will contain only the questions that your web resource needs.

One more usability secret is “Hyperlinks adjustment”. It is better to open the link to another site in new window because in this case when user closes that window, he won’t leave your site too.

Also your should be attentive to questions and remarks of users. Read the letters which your visitors write to support managers, this way you will see what difficulties users face while surfing on your resource and know their expectations concerning your service.