General, Tutorials

10 Basic tips on How to improve Usability in Webdesign

Nov 24, 2008 insic 21 Comments

Web page usability is a vital criteria in any web design project as it is this factor that can get repeat visitors to a website. Improving usability of web pages may not be an easy job even for the most skilled web designers. Usability based web designing is all about habit formation, it cant be achieved in one day. The designers need to gradually evolve themselves into designing websites high on usability. The following are some tips that can help web designers to improve website usability:

  1. See that your website loads faster. A slowly loading web page can only irritate the visitors. A website can be made to load faster through efficient coding, like use of CSS and optimal use of multimedia content.
  2. Make your web design simple and conventional so that people need not spend time in learning how to use your website. Don’t add flash intros about your company, this only tells the visitor that you don’t care about their time and that you are more interested in singing your own praises.
  3. Don’t go for too many unnecessary features, widgets, flash content, video, images etc. This can only slow up your website. Instead, use only elements that cannot be missed. You can add vital elements like those needed to get customer information like their email for example. This doesn’t mean you have to make them fill huge forms.
  4. Keep your website open for user comments regarding your web site’s usability. Note down these comments and make the necessary improvements.
  5. Avoid using irritating gifs, unnecessary background audio, pop ups, scrolling messages etc.
  6. Compress your images to make them load faster, you can use image optimizers to do this.
  7. Keep web page length to a minimum. Instead of going for one huge web page, you can have several smaller webpages that are more readable and easier to navigate. This can also help avoiding unnecessary use of the dreaded scrollbar.
  8. Always include a Site Map. A site map is a diagrammatic representation of the architecture of the website. A site map is not only a good way to improve the navigation in the website but also your ranking in search engines.
  9. Always go for contrasting Colors that can make your text more readable. Whenever you are using a dark background you need to use bright colored text. Also see that the text is big enough to be easily read.
  10. Provide relevant content that can be useful to the user. Adding too many advertisements and content that is not useful can drive the visitor away.

Finally, you need to do a complete usability test of your website before hosting it online. Check whether your website loads on all the popular browsers, check whether it can address the disabled visitors lie blind people. See that all links are working properly, check spelling mistakes, Load speed etc. And don’t forget to Validate your code. All these steps can improve the usability of your website and improve its popularity in a big way.

About the author: insic

Subscribe in my RSS Feed for more updates on Web Design and Development related articles. Follow me on twitter or drop a message to my inbox.

  • Jackson

    Excellent tips as always.

  • http://notyet Robert

    Thanks for your advice and useful tips.

  • devolute

    I’m not sure that keeping web page length to a minimum enhances usability. After all, with a blog-style site, surely scrolling down is a lot easier and less disruptive than clicking on a ‘view previous posts’ button to load earlier posts?

  • ace_dman

    nice info thanks

  • Ben Reid

    Great tips! A lot of sites need to pay more attention to these guidelines.

  • Henry

    Excelent tips, great post…!!!

  • Shreemani

    Very helpful tips. thanks for sharing this.

  • Yousef Abu Aisheh

    great post.. thanks
    we need know more about usability..

  • Jason Wang

    It’s easy ,but so hard!

  • ReTox

    …and remove stupid backgrounds like this one so users can read text normally ;)

  • Timothy

    I think if you use an “irritating gif” you shouldn’t be developing sites in the first place.

    As for making the site run faster, check out YUI compressor. It’s yahoo’s solution to JavaScript and CSS compression. It usually compresses a file size by 30% (my own calculation, based on my own experience).

  • insic2.0

    @Timothy, Yes you are right, maybe i need to be more specific with that “.gif” thing. I mean animated “.gif”. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Sarah

    I completely agree with you!  Right now, I’m in the process of fixing up my website, figuring out how to make it run smoother, simplifying the code.  I think it’s really easy to get lazy and let things accumulate over a period of time.  As designers, I think we often put more of our focus on our work than our own projects.  Posts like this one have been really helpful in getting back to basics.

    And I loved your comment about Flash intros– too true!  Some websites I visit don’t even offer a “Skip Intro” link.  Very frustrating.

  • gabz

    suggest more tips on how to improve more our website. Tnx  ^_^

  • rizq

    Nice tips !!!

  • Ashish Lohorung Rai

    nice post … well written ..but i agree with devolute about the page scrolling…. anyways keep it up..

  • Oksana Pikul

    Thanks for these good important tips!

  • Henry

    Really very nice, Great tips, thank…!!!

  • cagwait

    Great Tips! thanks for sharing these

  • alfred devanesan samuel

    simple and elegant

  • Kristopher Evans

    Thanks for the tips!