By Juliette Anderson . Posted on July 28, 2022

One of the significant factors overlooked in web design is usability.

Therefore, it should be considered when designing any website, whether it’s an eCommerce site or one that provides basic product information. However, usability doesn’t stop there. After you launch a site, usability testing will dictate what changes need to be made on the live site.

Superb usability is vital for any ecommerce store that wants to survive in this highly competitive marketplace. Meaning, that if there are issues with usability that prevent a prospect from finding something on your site, then they can’t buy it. Usability leads to higher revenues, loyal customers, and an increased brand value.

In this post, we’ll discuss the best practices on how you can enhance the usability of your site.

1. Concentrate on Readability

One of the signs that suggest website usability problems is readability. Readability refers to the ability of website visitors to comprehend and digest the content of the site. If your site has issues with readability, there’s a high chance it will frustrate users, and they end up leaving. It means that you’ll also lose potential customers.

Therefore, you need to take steps to ensure that your site is easy to understand, intent is clear, and organization of content is effective. Having adequate white space, proper paragraph formatting, and creating bullet point lists will make your site content more readable.

Aside from that, for a modern web design, consider placement of design elements, such as banners, videos, images, sidebars, and text boxes on your site so that they won’t distract users when navigating.

2. Make it Easy to Navigate

One of the core elements in driving conversions is user-friendly navigation. Ideally, it would be best if you made it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. You might consider getting a sitewide search function to speed up the process.

In the same way, you can also integrate navigation tools that are functional and quick to find. Ideally, when you want users to find a particular product or resource in as little time and effort as possible. Selecting one horizontal list of links instead of multiple sidebars and navigation widgets makes finding resources simple.

Aside from a navigation bar that is easy to use, your checkout button and CTAs should also be one of the most prominent features on your pages. Ideally, their cart and checkout should only be a click away.

3. Create a Visual Hierarchy

On average, it takes 2.6 seconds for a person to create the first impression of your website once they land on the page. It’s something that happens involuntarily, meaning the page has to be optimized for the users.

So, what does this mean for the usability of your site? It would help if you made it simple for users to understand what they’re looking at. If your site is overwhelming and draws attention to many different elements, you won’t know what to focus on, which doesn’t translate to a good user experience.

That’s why you need to create a visual hierarchy that will guide your visitors to the most critical elements of your site. It might mean placing essential elements in natural focus on your pages, such as images or CTAs. A trusted IT services company may be handy when it comes to making your e-commerce site attractive because they have extensive knowledge of what interest’s clients the most.

By providing a visual hierarchy to your website users, they can find the products and pages that are important to them, and at the same time, usability will improve.

Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when designing a visual hierarchy for site usability:

  • Alignment: Visitors usually read from top to bottom and left to right in an F pattern.
  • Color: Vibrant hues appeal better to the visitor’s eye.
  • Contrast: Different colors either emphasize or de-emphasize page elements.
  • Negative space: The spaces you’re not using are as crucial as those you do.
  • Size: Size has an impact on how understandable a page is, making it easily readable but not distracting.

4. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel with Designs

Maybe you want to try to be more creative when designing your site. Or you want to try something new. While creativity is crucial for your brand image, it can work better for elements such as marketing than it does for your site’s overall functionality and design.

Therefore, if you try to shake things up or reinvent the wheel, this might not translate to a good user experience for your site visitors who are used to traditional site designs.

Here are some of the standard elements that people expect when visiting a website, according to a study:

  • A logo on top of the screen
  • Contact information or buttons on the top right of the screen
  • Primary horizontal menu navigation in the header on the top of each page.
  • A search bar in the header
  • Social media icons in the footer

5. Implement Simple and Secure Checkout Processes

A complicated checkout process leads to cart abandonment. To avoid this, you should make the purchase process effective and efficient when you make an e-commerce website. Trim down the amount of information that your site needs from customers. For instance, you can place a checkbox to autofill shipping information when it matches the billing address.

Similarly, you should also provide an option to check out as a guest. You can integrate an automated option allowing account creation with the information that’s provided during checkout after the purchase.

It would be best to let your customers know that their credit card information is secure. For instance, you can place a paragraph on the top part of the “Place Order” page. It will make your checkout security more visible on your website.

An effective checkout process that makes purchasing products or services as quick and simple as possible will lead to more conversions. Ideally, checkout should be a two to three step process that includes adding to cart, payment information, and shipping or contact information.

6. Follow WCAG Standards

Web content accessibility guidelines, also known as WCAG, are created so that websites can meet the needs of people with disabilities.

These are updated from time to time. That’s why you must check it regularly to see the latest updates. WCAG’s guidelines aim to address the most common barriers that prevent people from using various digital platforms. The policies cover a variety of success criteria for creating an excellent digital experience and ensuring that it complies with the regulations.

Moreover, you don’t want to encourage or discriminate against people who visit your site. Everyone is entitled to have a good site experience. Following WCAG is a great way to create good usability and improve user experience.

7. Optimize Site Speed

Do you know that 53% of website visitors leave a webpage when it doesn’t load within three seconds?

It’s worth noting that a slow loading site impacts the UX because people are annoyed whenever a web page takes more than three seconds to load. That’s why you must optimize your site speed.

Your site speed directly impacts your site’s bounce rate and SEO. It also affects the user experience. Poor loading and response times create a terrible user experience. Waiting for your content to load can be frustrating and provoke users to leave your page altogether.

8. Optimize for Mobile Devices

Mobile devices have enabled consumers to multitask while they’re on the go. In fact, According to Statista, mobile devices account for 55% of all web pages.

Many sites are now indexed with Google’s mobile-first indexing. The crawling, indexing, and ranking systems of Google make it possible for you to rank better on mobile-initiated searches.

Mobile users don’t navigate a website the way desktop users do. Usually, they want to look for something particular, and they want to find it fast. That’s why you need to shorten the mobile user journey.

You can do this by:

  • Click-to-call buttons
  • Click-to-scroll buttons
  • Pinch-and-zoom for product photos
  • Sticky navigation bars
  • Pop-ups designed for mobile

Conclusion

The most successful brands out there all have one thing in common: to focus on a customer-first design approach. They anticipate the needs of customers and offer excellent ways to maximize UX.

So keep these best practices in mind. It would be best if you optimized your site’s usability to make the entire user experience as simple and effective as possible before launching the site. Making improvements on your site will give you the best possible chance to engage customers and guide them to make a purchase.

To fully understand your website’s usability, how different design elements and content affect the user experience, and how visitors will interact with the website before spending time and money building the final site, test website usability with Poll the People. The usability and user testing platform makes it easy to test any part of a website, providing feedback in under an hour for a a fraction of the cost of other usability testing tools. Sign-up for free and start gathering real user feedback in minutes.

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