What is usability?

Usability is the degree of ease a user has when using your website or product. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss usability related to websites.


Why is usability important?

The more effective, efficient, and user-friendly a website is, the more satisfied the users will be.
Imagine if one of your customers cannot easily access, navigate, or engage with your business on your website. This doesn’t build trust in the reliability of the product or service you offer. In fact, poor usability has the opposite effect. Users will likely leave your website and find a competitor whose website is much easier to use.

How to design for optimal usability

When creating a website, it’s important to design with usability in mind. Ensure all user interfaces are easy to use and don’t add any friction to the user’s journey through your website.

To design for optimum usability, consider your design flow as a whole and continually ask if there is a way to make it more user friendly.

10 tips to help you optimize for usability
  1. Have a clear understanding of your customer goals and communicate them to your team to ensure everyone is aligned.
  2. Whenever possible, try to avoid highly technical terminologies that may confuse or alienate users.
  3. Follow web design best practices.
  4. Make sure that designs are user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  5. Address any broken or incorrect links to make sure users can easily locate the article, attachment or page they’re looking for.
  6. Make your forms easy to fill out and ensure the calls-to-action are relevant to the forms.
  7. Ensure content is clear, concise and organized.
  8. Include status errors, so if a user encounters an issue on your website you can notify them on how the errors will be addressed or fixed.
  9. Provide users with help documentation where they can self-serve and find answers to their questions.
  10. Include only engaging and easy-to-understand content.
Methods to evaluate usability

There are several methods you can use to evaluate usability. Here are a few examples:

  1. Conduct two rounds of usability testing. For example, start with a trial through your internal team and gather feedback on what’s working and what’s not. After adjustments have been made, ask an external set of users to complete the test.
  2. Test users’ on-site navigation – how easy and intuitive is it to get around the website?
  3. Plan ahead for usability testing. Gather your team and relevant external stakeholders for discussions and brainstorming sessions to ensure there is alignment on key goals and objectives.
  4. Use SUS, or System Usability Scale, to measure usability. This tool has become a standard of evaluation and helps you to accurately assess your product or services.
  5. Repeat usability testing after every development cycle.
  6. Test and gather feedback from users on both desktop and mobile devices.
Usability testing

While it may feel like an additional step in your website or product design and development, leveraging usability testing to identify issues in advance of the launch can save your business time, effort, and money in the long run.

Related Terms

Brand Strategy

Brand strategy involves translating your technical offering into a clear value proposition and backing it up with a messaging framework and brand personality you can own.

Anchor Text

Otherwise known as link text, a link title, or a link label, anchor text can be described as clickable words or phrases within a hyperlink that connects two web pages.

Search Engine

Database tools that help users find content on the World Wide Web. Once a user enters a keyword or search query, search engines curate a list of the most relevant webpage URLs, images, or videos, known as the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).