Usability experts keep repeating: “A user needs a clear and convenient website.” But website owners still make this widespread mistake – substitute what’s practical with what’s aesthetic. As a result, the concept of convenience, logic, and simplicity of usage is changed for extraordinariness, creative novelty, and design solutions which, due to being so unusual, are almost insane.
Is the term “usability” similar to “ergonomics”? Partially, yes. Ergonomics means the minimum of efforts to make to do something. Usability is a bit wider notion that includes a general degree of convenience, correlation of intellectual efforts when using a website and its qualitative features, speed of achieving the necessary result while browsing a site. A simplified interaction between a user and a website is the main task. Its successful solution can effectively promote a resource in search engines and, as a result, an increase of visitors and potential clients.
USABILITY OF E-COMMERCE RESOURCES. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The very question of usability is the first on the agenda for commercial websites. Users don’t care about how interesting and complicated the solutions you used for making a website were. Even a super fancy design may not impress them. So, what do users want? They want good usability websites. They want sites to be convenient, easy, clear, and interesting. Providing them with all of these features will make users return to a website and move from random visitors to regular clients. It is basic web usability standards.
A bad experience of users’ interactions with a website is an enemy of e-commerce. A poor level of web usability causes an online store to lose 50% of its customers. The reasons are different: it’s difficult to register, impossible to find a necessary product, long loading, a design is difficult to perceive, etc. Unfortunately, no one’s going to learn instructions of usage, even if you make them. Website functionality should be clear for a user just right after he quickly scans your site for the first time. You should follow the main website usability standards to provide a proper website user experience.
Modern users don’t like doing extra actions. The final result of sales in an online store depends on how logical the sequence of steps for making an order is, and how you follow the web usability principles.
- A user can’t find information about contacts? He closes the tab.
- A client doesn’t see a delivery policy? He closes the tab.
- A complicated form of an order? Good bye!
- Grammar mistakes in texts? A bad impression.
- Ads attacking? Nobody needs that! It’s easier to leave the page.
- A page is loading for more than 5 seconds? You’re kidding! A visitor goes away.
Such mistakes are very easy to come across. So, we can easily list the top worth ones which occur during developing and designing a website. All of it can be seen in the process of website usability testing.
TOP 9 OF TERRIBLE MISTAKES OF USABILITY IN ONLINE STORES
- Intrusive banners. Almost every online store (popular entertainment sites) has different banners, popup windows asking you to subscribe for news, online consultants chat windows covering some necessary buttons.
- Redundant animation when there’s no optimization. Specialists who design usability sometimes miss the fact that many users do not use the most modern devices. It will be quite difficult for a small weak laptop to handle all the super-animation. The result is sad: a page hangs, and information is displayed incorrectly, leading to closing the bad-working website’s tab.
- Distracting and deceiving elements. There is plenty of such examples. The most widespread are underlined links and buttons that work like checkboxes.
- Overloading with text information. If a seller wants to tell a customer everything about his services, products, and advantages at once, he gets quite the opposite effect: the customer sees it all but understands nothing. He can’t quickly figure out what this all is about and make a decision. Thus, the resource isn’t effective. It’s necessary to determine the sequence of actions and put priorities properly on the website development stage.
- A creative design and a dead-end scenario. Relying on extraordinariness and creativity without clues for a user is a mistake. And it occurs quite often. How should a user figure out what’s what? How is he supposed to find tools if they’re not on regular spots? Such an approach won’t let you count on any loyalty of the customer.
Website usability specialists are already tired of talking about “clear navigation,” but modern companies keep stepping on the same rake. It even happens that websites win awards for the best design while their web usability is on a very low level. Unfortunately, cases of an adequate graphic design of online stores happen quite rarely. What’s important here is to keep a balance and not fall into extremes. Excessive navigation harms a website as much as a lack of it.
No brilliant simplicity. No possibility of purchasing one click or order without registration. Forms of a registration or an order with unnecessary fields to fill are a proven way of losing a potential customer. The minimum of actions for making an order is a serious competitive advantage. And it can improve a website user experience.
- Non-anticipative search. If a customer looks for a product but makes a typo, will the search still give him the right results?
- Contact information and delivery policy details are hidden. Contacts, payment, and delivery policies of an online store should always be on a visible spot. You should pay as much attention to them as to the “Buy” button. That information should have free access from any page.
- Incomprehensible terminology. It may seem to you that every person understands such things as “product available,” “product on order,” “in stock of a supplier,” “transit,” etc. Unfortunately, it isn’t so. A potential client may not know all of this. He might not even know what to authorize is. It will be better to show the real-time deliveries and use simple and clear terminology. A good example of violating basic principles of web usability is the “next” button in the process of making an order. A customer doesn’t know what actions it leads to. Instead of that, it is better to give specific instructions, like “proceed to payment” or “choose a way of the delivery.”
Good usability websites avoid such mistakes.
THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR WEBSITE USABILITY
- Navigation. Minimum of actions, intuitively clear structure.
- Design. One style, a complete picture of all elements of a page.
- Design of products’ e-catalogue. Complete information, quality images and videos.
- Simplified form of an order. Minimum fields for filling up.
- Integrated search. The most relevant search and an option of customizing filters.
- Speed of loading. The higher the speed, the better. Nothing much to add.
- Quality content. Not only is important the quality of texts, but also their quantity and regular information updates.
When planning a website from a usability perspective, the most difficult moment for developers is to see the resource the way visitors do. Everything may seem clear and understood to an experienced developer. Still, a checkup shows that a person “from the other side of the screen” doesn’t have his experience and view, so navigation of the website may appear a difficult puzzle to that user. That’s why it is reasonable to conduct website usability testing. A test will show whether your website can be really successful or whether any resource defects can harm users’ trust in tour companies. The fact that websites, made according to web usability requirements, statistically have the highest attendance rate is confirmed by numerous researches. For online stores, the popularity of a website directly impacts an increase in sales.
USABILITY AUDIT. WHAT IS IT FOR?
Usability analysis or website usability audit is a set of actions and measures taken to determine issues that cause interaction difficulties between users and websites. Finding existing problems is not the only thing usability experts do. They also suggest possible solutions.
Website usability audit relies on specific actions:
- studying users’ behaviour on a website;
- an analysis of heat spots;
- studying the main ways of entering and leaving a website;
- an analysis of users’ behaviour in web-visor, etc.
Web usability audit tasks are also clearly determined and coincide with client’s demands:
- increase website conversion;
- dropping a price for engaging a client to a resource;
- increase of an average check’s value;
- cutting expenses on clients support;
- ensure an increase of orders from 1 client.
Who needs a usability audit? First and foremost, they are websites of companies, which business is based on e-commerce. An increase in conversion is their important goal. But website usability testing, audit, and corrections of mistakes should be conducted for every website that cares about its image. Among all kinds of ways, an improvement of web usability is the simplest and the most effective one for achieving visitors’ loyalty. There were many examples when a conversion rate increased from 0.8% to 2%, which doubled sales without spending more on an advertisement.
WEBSITE USABILITY AUDIT. EXAMPLES OF STEPS TO DO
Website usability experts dive into all business processes of a client, taking into account specifics of his clientele. An interaction with a client allows to determine a list of goals necessary to achieve. An example of such a work may include the following steps:
- An analysis of potential audience with outlining the main categories of visitors and customers.
- Studying behaviour of website visitors.
- Search of barriers decreasing conversion.
- A research of conversion ways during the whole interaction – from entering to ordering.
- An analysis of how clear information for making a decision is.
- An analysis of loading time, a search of mistakes (defects of page making, broken links).
- An analysis of website search’s convenience and presence of distracting factors during conversion.
- An analysis of design: adequacy of icons, competent contrast of fonts and backgrounds, quality of images, etc.
- Giving specific recommendations regarding fixing defects and elimination of mistakes for every step.
- Giving a ready document for making corrections on a website.
- Control of mistakes’ correction.
- Analysis of a cart and the convenience of making a purchase, control unnecessary fields or steps for making an order.
As a result of such a work, following web usability standards, you may see quality changes of a website, which can improve conversion, convert visitors into customers, raise an income of a company without increasing marketing expenses.