Content Can Make or Break Your Website’s Usability

November 29, 2018 Martha Jameson

When a user lands on your website, various web design elements - navigation, graphics, white space, etc. - contribute to the prospective customer’s impression of your company.These elements continue to impact the buyer throughout the duration of her time on your website.. Before you focus on developing an online marketing strategy, you need to consider your website's usability. 

Usability means user-centered design that enhances the accessibility of the site. There are several key factors that determine a site’s usability: Availability, Clarity, Learnability, Credibility, and Relevance.

Availability

A website’s availability is paramount to ensuring a positive user experience. Server access and server load fall under this factor. You want to be sure your site can handle the maximum expected traffic, no matter the volume.  A clever 404 error may amuse a user the first time, but repeated availability issues are likely to drive your customers to your competitors. You also want to make sure your site is compatible with the sizes and resolutions of phones, tablets, or computers.

Clarity

Clarity is second only to accessibility when it comes to web design. The content on your site or blog should be well developed and presented in a manner that’s easy to follow. Organization is key here. Keep it simple and try not to clutter the site with extraneous information. Use language that’s clear and concise to help guide users through your site. You also want to make sure the browsing experience is consistent throughout the pages of your site. “For example, maintaining the same order of hyperlinks in headers and footers, keeping the theme and layout of items and images consistent in their appearance. Lending attention to these details allow the users a level of comfort and ease when accessing your website,” says Sarah Stone, a web designer and content writer at 1Day2Write and WriteMyX.

Learnability

Consider what features you can offer to make the process easier for the visitor, or what designs you can use to make the visit more welcoming. While this is not meant to stymie your creativity, there are a number of templates that have been standardized in website navigation. “For example, when looking to return to the homepage of site, most users would look to the left hand corner of the page where the company logo often rests. When people seek to contact the site for one reason or another, they’re either provided with links at the bottom or links in upper right hand corner of the page, before the search function if your site provides such a feature,” suggests Tom Trim, a content manager and a marketing influencer at OriginWritings.

Credibility

The credibility of a site depends on the reliability of the content. Users expect you to know and vet the sources of your material so they’re not led astray by incorrect information. A credible site also permits users to interact with the provider should questions or difficulties arise. 

Give your site visitors clear reasons to trust you. Be transparent about GDPR, advertisements and so on. It helps in proving that you are a reliable and trustworthy source of information.

Relevance

Finally, make sure your content is relevant to your subject and audience. Create content that would matter to them. Doing research and diving deep into your buyer persona is essential when it comes to this. Make your design relevant as well. For example, if you are selling accounting software for businesses, your site should probably reflect a professional tone in content and design. Your site should also include links to user guides, forums, testimonials, FAQs, or other information closely related to your product or service. 

Updating content to make it relevant to the current trends and events is also important. Content audits every 6 months or so are always recommended, with out of date stories, manuals, or hyperlinks updated, removed, or replaced. 

Website design is all about functionality, and with these tips in mind you can make your content more user-friendly, and thus more accessible.

Featured Image Source: Social network user login website mock up on computer screen, tablet, smartphone by Stokkete Shutterstock 

About the Author

Martha Jameson is a content editor and proofreader. Before she followed her calling writing at AcademicBrits.com, she was a web designer and a manager. Martha’s main goals are to share her experience, motivation and knowledge with her readers.

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