Friday, 3 December 2010

The Secret of Web Development is Usability

Usability, in terms of Web Development is all about providing a service that is simple to understand and use. A powerful similarity that crosses many different sectors is that of simplicity. Whether you dealing with web design, programming, copywriting or site architecture, the art of keeping it all simple is vital.

Finely worked Web Development can be likened to that of a clear and informative map. A map like the London Underground ticks all the boxes; its usability levels are second to none. A combination of clear design and intuitive information ensures that a tourist to the capital of the UK, can quickly work out how to get to their destination.

With the previous example in mind we will turn our attention to that of web development and discover why usability is so important. The subsequent information will also illustrate how usability can be improved upon within a website.

Web Development is a broad term that covers all aspects that are involved during the development of a website. Web Development will cover everything from initial design, content management to ecommerce integration. The main aim of any website is to be navigated by humans, so it stands to reason that the most important aspect of a successful website has to be that of usability.

How to achieve Great Usability

Layout: A well balanced and uncluttered website will help spread out your information in an aesthetically pleasing and easily understood format.

Colour Scheme: It is imperative to use complementary colours and make sure that he colour of your font type is always clear.

User Navigation: As mentioned earlier, Simplicity is the Key. Imagine yourself in the eyes of someone new to the internet and try and make everything as obvious as possible.

Font Type and Size: Nice and clear is important when it comes to your content. Less is more. If you can use a diagram or picture instead of content then this is advisable. Keep your font at an easily readable size.

Use of Language: Avoid the use of technical and complex language. Once again the concept of simplicity is important as ever.

Call to Action: These should be included at every step of the way to ensure your user knows what to do next whether its receiving a free quote or advancing to the checkout, make sure it’s clear and visible.

Informative: It’s advised to keep your pages uncluttered but that’s not to say you can’t provide as many pages as possible. Be informative as possible, try to predict what your ideal visitor would need to know.

Interactive: The more engaging a website is the longer your user will spend on your site and also the higher the chances of you receiving your end goal. Perhaps this is to fill out a form or call a number, but remember the more your user feels part of the experience the more likely they’ll trust you and perhaps make that call.

One final point, during the whole Web Development process is to remember to ask yourself: ‘Is this Clear enough?’ If there is ever any doubt in your mind, usability may be hampered. Go back to the drawing board and come up with a solution of clarity.

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