No business can thrive in current times without a website. But it’s not enough to have one – the website needs to be usable and user friendly. Here are some of the common usability issues from which many websites suffer, and how you can avoid them.
It takes much less effort and time to lose a customer than it does to gain one. If your website is difficult to read, has colours which strain the eyes, is cluttered with too many videos that load automatically and play music, or makes your business look unprofessional in any way, then you will likely turn away potential customers. As some of the issues below can also fall under the umbrella of first impressions, this issue can often have many different causes.
While you might think that black text on a white background is a bit dated, it’s actually quite easy to read for the majority of people. It’s a good idea to stay away from dark background colours such as black or red, particularly if using lots of text, as this can create legibility issues, particularly if the text is a colour other than white.
As not everyone has 20:20 vision, choose a font size that can be read easily when the page magnification is on 100%; users won’t want to increase the page size specifically for your site, just so they can read what’s on it. Finally, for large bodies of text, stay away from fonts that are difficult to read, such as those which mimic handwriting.
Too Much Text
Just as font size and colour matter, the amount of text on a page is also an important factor. If you have no choice but to present large amounts of information on a page, you can make it easier to read by having a smaller column width (rather than paragraphs that fill the entire page) as well as paragraph breaks to split up the text and aid in reading.
Websites that don’t have consistent fonts, layout, graphics, colours or information can be confusing for your potential customers, even making people wonder if they’re still on the same website. Consistency helps to establish a certain aesthetic for your website which will improve the user experience.
Users shouldn’t have to go searching for the right tab to press in order to navigate to the page they want. It’s also better to have dropdown menus that give you different options for navigation, rather than forcing users to click on a succession of pages in order to get to where they want to go.
Inability to Search
If your website has a lot of information or you find, for example, that you need to use lots of submenus to keep the information in order, then having a search function can help users to find the information they need. However, the search function should be easy to find and use.
Websites that take seemingly forever to load will not win you any friends or new customers. One of the biggest issues is placing full-size photos onto pages, rather than thumbnails, which can dramatically affect a website’s speed. There are other factors that can affect a website’s speed, such as the server performance, number of plugins, the amount of traffic currently on the site, density of the code, and so on.
Many people now use their mobile phones as a main source of browsing the internet or searching for products and information. If your website doesn’t operate properly on mobile phones, then you’ll be affecting the user experience for many of your potential customers. Properly testing your website on mobiles (different types, if possible) can help lessen any issues.
If your site has links to any external or internal pages, it’s a good idea to check that they’re formatted properly before the site goes live. As the vast majority of users won’t contact you if your site doesn’t work properly, it pays to be vigilant and do this work beforehand. It also helps if you check older pages with links just to make sure that the links are still available.
All of these issues and many more can be ironed out if you engage in user testing before your website goes live. Testmate are experts in website usability and user testing to help you find potential issues and improve your conversion rates.