In the context of this blog post, Usability refers to how easy it is for a person to use a web interface. In my past positions I have had to manage complicated considerations in software applications but today we are talking about some very basic things that can help business owners and marketers increase their online conversion rates. So my point today is that better web usability ‘should’ result in a better online conversion rate. I say ‘should’ because there are many things that are necessary for a good online conversion rate – good usability won’t necessarily help you sell sand to camels (even if they could type).
The concept of making things easier to use seems so simple. So why is it that we have seen, and still see, so many examples of design getting in the way of a user completing the goal we set for them? In my opinion this is mostly due putting ‘graphic design’ before ‘user design’.
In user design we use defined ‘personas’, or profiles of our customers, and we set goals for them. We then map out our strategy for facilitating their completion of these goals.
- Develop personas
- Set website or page goals
- Define the needs, wants and limitations of the user in the context of your goals
- Determine the steps needed for the user to complete the goal
- Develop graphic designs for your interface based on what you have discovered.
There are three vehicles that carry our users through our pages: written content, visual design and interactive elements (such as forms and buttons). We will be exploring these options in more depth in the next few blog posts.