Web applications are sometimes more arduous to design than websites. This is because designers have to anticipate user behavior and design an experience which makes the user’s job easier. But this golden rule, somewhere somehow, gets lost in the translation of idea to design.

So, we thought of creating a list of usability concepts that will make your website or app an incredible conversion machine which users love to use. Use these concepts to develop a usable website or to improve the usability of your website.

In order to optimize the cognitive load, we are creating the list in 3 parts. This is the first part.

Usability concept# 1:Make sure that your navigation is easy to follow

When building out your site map your end goal must be to keep it as simple and intuitive as possible. You must name each page properly and make sure that the sub navigation concedes to its main navigation option.

Usability concept# 2: The power of a great ‘Tooltip’

When you present your unique web application to a potential customer, the last thing you would want is to ruin your stunning graphic design work by putting help text everywhere to hand-hold your new user.

“Tooltips” on your icon can help you in a big way. Tooltips offer users the capability to learn a system by understanding icons without harming the UI experience.

 

Usability concept# 3: Give Valuable Status Messages

‘Loading’ & the ‘Please…Wait’ are the most common messages which you will find on web pages. These messages rarely add to the user experience of application but they inform users that the application is busy doing something.

Problems arise when these status messages are unnoticeable/small/subtle. User who ever miss out these status messages gets frustrated at the application for not reacting to their given inputs (as they don’t realize that it has been occupied with some other task.)

Usability concept# 4: Build a great search functionality on your website

To make it easy for all users to find the information they are looking for, you must place the search bar icon in the top right of your web application for easy use.

There are 2 strong reasons for building a search functionality on your website:

  1. About 30% site visitors use website’s search to find something they are looking to buy / use
  2. Your search term data report provides you with priceless insights into what your customers are interested in and which key terms they use to search for a particular item

Usability concept# 5: Don’t depend on the user’s memory

Do always keep in mind that a web application should not force the end users to remember important details. Rather, it should simply allow them to perform the needed action and present them with the most consistent information possible to help them complete their tasks easily.  This is also called ‘Recognition over Recall’.

The human mind is better at recognizing things previously experienced than it is at recalling them from memory.

What is ‘Recognition over Recall'?

Want to learn more about UI / UX?

Read this classic on Human Computer Interactions by Steve Krug

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Hopefully, these 5 usability concepts will help you in building a great usable website. We would like to hear your experience in using some of these concepts on your website. Please share in comments below.

More good stuff coming your way. Stay tuned for Part 2 of  5 key principles of making usable websites !

Author Knowledge Center

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