5 factors that affect usability
As websites become more interactive and complex, usability testing is an important part of a website's’ success. Websites that have a user-friendly design and an easy-to-use interface increase user satisfaction. In this post, I will go over 5 factors that affect usability and things to keep in mind as you create your site.
The most important thing to test for is whether users are able to accomplish their goals when they come to your site. Not only should they be able to accomplish them, but they should be able to do so efficiently. Determine what the core user tasks are and consider the following to evaluate task performance:
Learnability – How easy is it for new users to learn the interface and perform a task? For complicated tasks, are there sufficient help features such as tutorials, in-line tips, and hints?
Intuitiveness – How obvious and easy is the task to accomplish?
Efficiency – Are there ways to streamline and reduce the time it takes to complete the task? How can the interface be improved to lower errors and repetition?
Affordance – Is it evident what the results of a user action will be when the user interacts with an element on your site by clicking, hovering, or tapping it?
Content is the heart of any type of website. Not being able to read and understand the user interface hinders performing tasks efficiently and accurately. To begin evaluating readability, consider the following:
Ease of comprehension – Is the content easy to understand and internalize? Are the sentences and paragraphs concise?
Legibility – Are the fonts big enough? Is there enough contrast between the text and its background?
Navigation consists of numerous user interface components, such as navigation menus, search boxes, and links. It is imperative that users can move through multiple web pages as easily as possible. Navigability hinges on these factors:
Information Architecture – How well are web pages categorized and organized?
Findability – Are there sufficient site features such as search boxes, links, and navigation features that aid in finding relevant information?
Efficiency – How fast and in how many actions (number of clicks, how much text, etc.) does it take to get to a page of interest?
A website should be accessible to everyone, including those of us with disabilities that affect how we experience the web. Here are major considerations for when testing accessibility:
Cross-Browser/Cross-Platform – Does the site work in all browsers? Is the site responsive?
Semantic HTML markup – Those who use assistive technologies like a screen reader, the quality and accuracy of the webpage’s structure is important. Are the HTML tags being used correctly?
Color Choice – Are the colors used high contrast? Do the colors hinder people with colorblindness or poor vision?
The better performing a website is, the more efficient a user will be, and a more efficient user is a happy user. Take note of a response time when evaluating website speed.
Web page response time – How fast does it take to load a webpage?
In order to speed up your website, consider optimizing images and CSS delivery, and reduce the number of plugins on your site if you’re using an open-source content management system, such as Wordpress.
Still have questions about usability or how to improve user experience on your site? Read more about why usability is important to your site here and here.