How Does Your Website’s Usability Stack Up?

How does your website fare against others in your industry? Here are four important areas where your site may be failing. If your site isn’t “making the grade”, your visitor’s experience will suffer and they will quickly click the back button and move on to another site. As my 13-year old son might say, your site is an #epicFail.

Website Legibility

Problem

Not many things upset a visitor to the degree that small font sizes or ‘frozen’ font sizes do. Frozen font size refers to fonts that don’t resize when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. Sure, your text looks ok when your site is viewed on a desktop, but the fact is that more than half of internet users are utilizing mobile devices. If your site does not resize fonts for the specific device browser in use, your visitor’s frustration level will rise and they’ll likely move on.

Solution

Make sure your site’s design and coding is responsive. This means it will redraw images to their proper size and resize text to the specific size needed for the visitor’s device. If your site is cut off on the right when viewed on a mobile device it’s likely not responsive. Even worse, in January, 2017 Google is moving to ‘Mobile First’ search engine results. Read more about that here.

Keep it Brief

Problem

Too much text on a page is tiring and your visitor will likely scan the text if they bother to struggle to read it at all. A usability study showed that a 58-percent increase in usability occurs when half the words on a web page are eliminated.

Solution

Be concise. Figure out what your message truly is and get to the point quickly. Use bold text, bulleted text, and sub headings to break up long sections of copy into smaller chunks. Unless your topic is indeed technical and requires it, make your copy easily understood and write for as broad an audience as possible to facilitate speedier comprehension. The Readability Test Tool (http://www.read-able.com/) allows you to plug in a URL, then gives you scores based on popular readability formulas such as the Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease.

Organize Your Message

Problem

Content that doesn’t flow logically will send your visitor scurrying.

Solution

Recall back to your high school writing class. Remember the inverted pyramid style of writing? Place important information at the top of your articles; this is sometimes called the lead. Then comes your supporting details, and then related info if you feel it’s necessary. This writing style will help your copy to flow smoothly.

Avoid ‘Visually Heavy’ Layouts

Problem

Your web page is so packed with text, pictures, graphs, and other visuals that the reader is overwhelmed… and leaves.

Solution

Any designer will tell you that white space in a layout helps to provide ‘visual relief’ for a reader. Keep this in mind. Use generous margins and plenty of space between paragraphs and images or graphics to make your page visually appealing to a visitor. Your site’s aesthetic appeal is sometimes a ‘secret weapon’ that surprisingly increases the chances a visitor will share your content in their social media channels.

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