Usability Goals: Effectiveness in Website Design
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 do what it should do.
Effectiveness is actively measured by task-completion rates & other test metrics. Information architecture and semiotics play a large roll in the effectiveness of a website. Other important areas that affect effectiveness are; page layout, image selection, and content.
One of the principles or "tests" that we put our website designs through is the "Scent of Information" test. This is where we test our website designs to make sure that users are getting information that they expect when they click on any link on a website we design. "Designing for the Scent of Information" is an excellent report on how users navigate through websites, written by usability expert Jared Spool.
“The users coming to your site all have one thing in common: their animal instinct. When a user wants to find something on your site, they are on the hunt. Just like a fox in a forest, they’ll be most successful when they pick up a strong scent.” - Jared Spool