The importance of usability on the web
By Matt Adams on February 26, 2009
What is a user-friendly site and how does a user-friendly design help business? User-friendly sites are not only easier to navigate through, but they are more effective in reaching people because users can find what they are looking for, they feel satisfied in getting what they need, and in turn they feel good about you as a company or organization.
We hook up the majority of our clients with a content management system and thereby hand over a good chunk of responsibility for user-friendliness. The design of a site still plays a major role, don’t get me wrong. The size and readability of text, the background they are placed on, and where they are placed on the page are all important. Those parts of the design are a big factor in how easy to use it is. And that responsibility rests on us as designers. However, clients using the cms decide what pages they want and where they are placed within the site. They add all their text making decisions on where heading styles are used. Different heading styles allow text to be separated into easily distinguishable paragraphs with titles.
Many people don’t realize how important having a user-friendly site is. It can definitely make or break your site, no matter what the background looks like, or how cool the rest of the design is. If people can’t figure out how to find your contact information because it’s buried in your site, then they can’t call you, can’t purchase your product or come to your church. Sitepoint has a great book/kit The Usability Kit that goes into details about large sites and how important usability is. Many of their tips and pointers can be used for small sites as well, as usability is always important when you don’t have much time to impress your clients and customers on the web.