Sunday, May 20, 2007

50 Web Usability Tips that Help You Attract and Retain Web Visitors

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen is an authority on the topic of user-friendly websites and has written extensively about the importance of Usability for online businesses.

Here is a quote from his seminal Introduction to Usability:

"On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave.

If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here?

There’s no such thing as a user reading a website manual or otherwise spending much time trying to figure out an interface. There are plenty of other websites available; leaving is the first line of defense when users encounter a difficulty."

I’ve recently been on a Nielsen rampage and have been reading voluminously about web usability. His articles are really interesting to me because they offer some excellent tips on how to improve your website or blog in order to attract and add value for site visitors.

50 Web Usability Tips to Attract and Retain Web Visitors
This list was developed as a result of personal notes which I’ve recorded while reading Jakob Nielsen’s articles as well as several interviews with him on the topic of usability. They are rephrased in my own words so that they make sense outside of each article’s context.

I’ve categorized them according to topics and have listed them in digestible point formats so you can easily scan through and pick out the ones which are suitable for your own websites.

References for these tips are listed at the bottom of this post and should you have the time or interest, do you visit these articles to learn more about usability. I’ve found them to be very helpful indeed.

Web Design and Usability Tips

1. Response or load time for a website is fairly important. If your site is slow, visitors are likely to go away and it will also be difficult for them to learn new or foreign concepts.

2. Remove the ‘homepage‘ link on the homepage because it can increase navigational confusion. This will make the user doubt that the homepage is indeed the actual homepage.

3. Follow conventions for web design (”blue for hypertext links“) This will allow site visitors to mainly focus on your content instead of using their mental power to learn how to use your website."    (Continued via doshdosh)    [Usability Resources]

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