Web usability checklist

Why Usability?

Usability is our guiding principle in website development. Why are we obsessed with usability? Because unless a website is usable, it won’t achieve your objectives. It can even be harmful to your organization. A confusing, frustrating and inarticulate site will drive users away from you — and may create a perception that your brand is less professional, less efficient, less committed than it actually is.

Websites are a special kind of software. Users come to your site and need to understand how to operate that software right away. They come to perform tasks, such as finding the information they need on the website; purchasing an item; or joining an email list. Very few users have the time or inclination to figure out a difficult interface, or find hidden information. If the website lacks usability, they will leave.

As Jakob Neilsen, a leading usability expert says: “On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival.” To view articles by him, click here.

The Checklist

Take a moment to look at your website: here are some of the most important usability items.

If you don’t have time to do this yourself, we’d be happy to informally review your website at no charge or obligation. Just click here, and we’ll set it up.

1. Utility: Does your website do what users need? For example, if you are a non profit, is there an easy donation path? Is the content what your audience needs and expects to find?

2. Navigation: Is the navigation where users expect it to be? Navigation is typically at the top of the page, or along the left-hand side. If you have a non-standard configuration, there needs to be a very good reason! The navigation should be clear and answer three questions: Where am I? Where have I been? and Where can I go?
JobsFirst NYC website

Consistency: JobsFirst NYC home and interior pages

3. Consistency: throughout the website, make sure you use a consistent design and layout for each page on your site. This means using the same brand style, consistent navigation, and consistent link behavior. If users find your website through search engines such as Google, they may enter it through an interior page — so there should be no doubt what website they are on.

Title treatment and breadcrumb menu

Redundancy: Left: Menu and page titles. Right: breadcrumb menu

4. Redundancy. Users need as many clues as possible to so they understand where they are in a website. For example, page names should be the same as the navigation names. Breadcrumb menus help a visitor understand the website structure as well.

5. Use web clichés: You see these pages on most websites: “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Shopping Cart”. These may be clichés, but they help users perform tasks quickly.



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