Usability and utility, not visual design is the main factor in determining the success or failure of a website.
Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has become a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. If users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist.
Usability is the process of making a website easy for customers to use. It encompasses the heuristics of the site as well as the methods that people use to manipulate the site. In simple terms a website is usable if the customers can find what they need and accomplish their goals a quickly and efficiently as possible.
Heuristics are the rules surrounding usable Web pages – basically “rules of thumb” because they are familiar and well-understood by most users.
Here are some of the ways we build our websites to improve usability:
- Work in any browser
- Use of familiar terms (Home, About) and conventions (indications of links and user actions)
- Fast loading
- Validation to web standards
- Contact information
- Intelligent printing (print preview these pages)
- Automatically resize (resize your browser window to observe)
- User control of text size
- User control of navigation – any combination of keyboard, mouse, or other pointing devices
- Hypertext help text (tooltips) where link meaning is not obvious