Web Sites and Usability

Web Sites and Usability

Just read an interesting interview over at the Corporate Eye blog about good usability.

This is an interesting read. You would think that after so many years of being online, most of us will have a good grasp of this concept of usability. Well, just as common sense is rather uncommon, than good usability is yet another illusive phantom for many.

Many small companies cannot afford to get a full time team to take care of their website. These sites become white elephants faster than you can eat a Happy Meal. Worse, many of them “cannot afford” to spend to create a decent site. Just yesterday, I saw a site where they simply scanned in their promotion flyer and put it up as a single JPEG file. So, that website had one page, and one page only. Worse, it was just a jagged, slightly blurry JPEG file of a handbill.

There are some nice solutions. For example, if you just need a simple site, yet want it to look professional (eg. Flash, animated menus etc), you can use professional templates that can give you almost an instant site – see www.domains4everyone.com and www.myezynet.com for example.

A professionally designed site will give you a good level of usability. It makes the user feel comfortable and imparts a certain level of trust that they are dealing with an “OK” company. Another important reason for having good usability on your site, you need your visitors to be able to actually find something useful for them. You really don’t want them to come to your website, click around in futility and leave in a huff.

So, if you are interested to hear what an expert has to say about good website usability, go on over to read: Expert interview: David Hamill, Good Usability

11 Replies to “Web Sites and Usability”

  1. Thanks for the article and the link…it was a great read. A couple of pints I would make….

    Templates may be a good solution for many companies, but by their very definition they beg the question–do they fit the needs of the user? You solution really needs to be based around the needs of your users. I question whether very generic templates can do this. They can, of course, get you over some of the big usability hurdles–such as poor code, lack of a focal point–but you still need good content and a solid IA to make for a quality site.

    Your point: “Another important reason for having good usability on your site, you need your visitors to be able to actually find something useful for them.” is the central tenant of useability-IMHO.

    Thanks again…

  2. Good points. To Larry, I agree with you. In the case of templates, it is always a case of the solution looking for a problem. It is not for everyone.

    But for those with limited budgets, and needs that fit, it is probably the lowest cost, yet the highest impact solution they are likely to find.

    Most of the time, I would spend a lot of time looking for the “appropriate” CMS for clients, since a CMS is pretty much a “super flexible template”.

  3. Hi Larry, Hi Calvin

    Yes, there are limitations to Templates, but given the current economic situation and the importance of companies having a web presence, this could very well be a short term measure to be followed by a more robust response when they are more able.

    There are many ways to approach businesses and many solutions to choose from. I guess each must make their own choices

    All good points, thank you for contributing your thoughts.

  4. Most websites have tiny fonts that are hard to read.

    Your site has fonts I don’t have to zoom in to read and it is very easy to read. Welp after 15 minutes of digging in your HTML source and hunting through linked files, I found the reason. Your default main font is Trebuchet MS. Very easy to read.

  5. Getting a quality traffic is one thing and getting repeat visitors is the different task. Website usability should serve the purpose for repeated visitors.

  6. I second that on the Joomla comment, CMSes are getting easier and easier to use. You are still looking at a bit of overhead for the nontechnical user to set up something like joomla, but the savings of not having to go through a web design company are huge. Some of these companies charge a years rent for a relatively basic website. Many non-tech folks are surprised when they realize how easy it is to roll your own these days.

  7. Non-tech folks are maximizing on easy to use wordpress to create their own website … for free. Creative firms like us just have to work smarter to have more interesting solutions that meet the clients’ needs and objectives.

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