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what is web usability?

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It is known as the degree of ease with which a website is used by the users who interact with it. A website with good usability is one that provides an intuitive, simple, pleasant and safe experience. Design is not just about how a website looks or feels, it is also about how it works. To do this, we need to know about usability.

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Origin of web usability

This neologism was born in the context of new technologies and comes from the English term 'usability', which means 'ease of use'. It is a quality of an interface or an object. However, a design is not usable by itself, but it is its characteristics in conjunction with the user's context that will determine the degree of usability.

Imagine for a moment that you are trying to access the homepage of a particular gastronomy website, but instead you see a promotion of another brand. This may be a mistake on the part of the developer, but it influences the user experience, so it can also be considered a web usability error.

what are the main characteristics of web usability?

  • If your website complies with these characteristics, you will have taken a step forward so that visitors can navigate it without problems. We show them to you:
  • - Usability: Each and every element of your website should be useful for some reason and too many decorative images should be avoided, among other things.

    - Ease of use: How easy is it for the user to do the tasks the first time they encounter the interface? How long will it take them to learn them?

    - Efficiency: When the user is familiar with the design, it is important to determine how efficient the design is for the user to be able to do other tasks.

    - Memorability : How intuitive is the design?

    - Errors: How many errors are there, how serious are they, and can they be fixed?
    satisfaction: This is what will indicate whether the user will return when interacting with the design.

If your website does not comply with all these components, then the user will most likely leave and not come back. For this reason, it is very important to know the user's objectives, only then will we know how to respond successfully to the utility.

how can you check the usability of your website?

do you think your design is not very usable? Is there something wrong with the user experience? If something is not easy to use, it is not going to be remembered or talked about. To check and improve the level of usability, we will put into practice the so-called ' usability tests ', i.e. check how visitors navigate on your website in order to facilitate their experience and make it more intuitive.

To do this, you can select a group of users to whom you will assign specific tasks within the website and draw conclusions. These tasks do not consist of asking different people to navigate your page by clicking randomly, but you should assign specific tasks on some aspects that you want to test, for example: filling out a form or finding the blog within the page.

When you finish the tests, your results will help you to know how well the user can perform the tasks assigned to him/her the first time he/she visits the page, the efficiency of the experience, if he/she is able to remember how the website works after his/her first interaction, the number of errors and their severity, the degree of satisfaction, etc.

In this way, we can conclude that usability tests are perfect, not only when creating our website, but also for its maintenance and constant improvement.

"Bad design can cost a website 40% of repeat traffic. Good design can keep them coming back. A few tests can make all the difference" - Kalin.

what are web usability heuristics?

Heuristic evaluations were developed by Nielsen and Molich in 1990 with the aim of inspecting usability without users. It consists of an expert examination of the quality of a website's usability based on a set of principles (visibility of system state, matching the system to the real world, user control and freedom, consistency and standards, and error prevention).

Each of these principles includes good and bad practices. For example: in the case of user control and freedom, a good practice could be the permission to undo an action instead of prompting with warnings that may annoy the user. If we think of Drive, when we delete a document it gives us the option to undo this step.

However, despite the success of these heuristic principles for an expert evaluator, it is important not to lose sight of the context and user experience on the website.

want to learn more about usability tips for your website?

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