What is Usability? Why Do I Want a User-Centered Website?
Wikipedia defines usability as, "Usability is the ease of use and Learnability of a human-made object." At Affordable Usability we simplify that down to "Usability means happy users." We base the usability of the websites that we design along at least five axises of usability goals; effectiveness, efficiency, utility, learnability,and memorablity. A website that excels in these five areas should almost always result in a positive user experience, that improves with every returning visit.
User-centered design can lead to; more visits, more loyal-visitors, less confusion, and more sales conversions.
Read through the brief definitions of usability key terms, and click any of the links to learn more about the topic.
As stated, Affordable Usability bases their website design on 5 axis es of usability goals; effectiveness, efficiency, utility, learnability,and memorablity. Usability also shapes our website design process in form of "Iterative Design." That is to say all of our website designs and website developments are rooted in a cyclical design methodology, consisting of research, prototyping, user-testing, analysis, and repeat...
User research is the act of testing a design with actual users. User research allows us to; see fist hand how users interact with websites, determine where users run into problems, and gleam information on how user experience can be improved.
Our user research typically takes the form of; user observation, task analysis, questionnaires, and interviews. Click on the "read more" button to learn more about user research.
Simply put effectiveness is a measure of how well a website does what it is designed to do. We consider a website that we design to be effective if users can; easily find the information they seek, shoppers can easily complete purchases, clients can use the back-end control panel. Website effectiveness is measured by its ability to convey the overall message of our client.
Effectiveness is actively measured by task-completion rates & other test metrics.
Few things can leave users more miffed then when they click on a website, believing that it will help them to complete a task, only to be let down. To avoid this let down it is important that website designers are aware of the reasons that visitors will come to website, and what tools they will need when they get there. It is important that the website being designed offers the functionality that users will seek, or provides them with a link to where they can complete their task. The functionality must be provided in a means that allows users to do what they need to do, and in a method that is convenient for them.
Learnability is a measure of how easy a website is to learn. On the internet learnability could be the most important of all usability goals. The reason for this is that if users are not able to find what they are looking for, or get a hint of how they can get to the information they want, they are only a back click away from finding another source.
We design websites with an eye toward learnability and navigation to ensure that users are able to instantaneously determine; what your company does, what information is on your website, and how to get a hold of your company.
Click the button below to read more about the importance of learnability...
Memorability is a measure of quickly user recall how to navigate and use a website. It is important that your website is memorable, so that a user that has not visited in months is able to quickly recall how to; find a product, add it to a shopping cart, and complete checkout. A memorable website will lead to more loyal visitors, better website traffic, and more repeat customers.
Websites can be designed for memorability by; maintaining a consistent format between website pages, well conceived navigation, and good use of icons and breadcrumbs.