Marty Carroll, Managing Director of the Usability Company, outlines the 10 most important factors in achieving excellent usability:
1. Clearly communicate the proposition of the site – even established brands need to tell visitors what’s on offer on the site if they are to interact meaningfully.
2. Ensure the site is designed to support the various user journeys – a good understanding of user scenarios inevitably leads to higher conversions and loyalty.
3. Use language that resonates with your target audience – unintuitive terminology confuses and patronises visitors.
4. Design to ensure that links have a similar appearance across the site – consistency is the hallmark of usability and inconsistency means a steep learning curve.
5. Adhere to design conventions where possible – don’t design to be like other sites but people have been conditioned through experience with other sites.
6. Design a search box that accommodates typical query lengths – if it doesn’t, customers will use it less and experience more problems meaning they can’t find products.
7. Include clear links to delivery and returns information – proactively managing this results in greater conversion values.
8. Appropriately position privacy and security assurances within the shopping process – this facilitates trust building and ultimately purchases.
9. Carefully consider the role of promotions on the site – people are cynical about advertising and this may affect revenues.
10. Implement a performance feedback loop – put a framework in place that allows you to adequately capture the impact of site design changes
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