December 3rd, 2018

Is Your Website Usable?

We can all remember a day when websites, no matter how good they were, looked something like this:

In 2018, this might give us the ultimate cringe. But we had to start somewhere. And rest assured, it wasn’t just eBay—it was the internet of the 1990s. Since then, we’ve come a long way. Such a long way, in fact, that now we have methods, techniques, and statistics that help us understand why a website is or isn’t appealing, why it generates certain levels of traffic, and just about any other detail we need.

Today, we call this usability. Simply put, it’s how easy a website is to use on a consumer’s end. But it can also refer to how easy a website is to design for SFW’s developers. According to the Nielsen Norman Group (NNGroup), usability is defined by 5 things:

  • Learnability: How easy is it for users to get the “hang” of it the very first time?
  • Efficiency: After they’ve learned the site, how fast can they accomplish things?
  • Memorability: Can users re-establish a connection with the site when returning to the site?
  • Errors: What kinds of errors do users make while on the site?
  • Satisfaction: Is it pleasant for the user?

These might all seem like common sense at first glance. But there’s a vast, complicated world behind front end developing that makes all of it possible. SFW’s front end developers implement website designs on the web. So, they work together with designers to make sure usability is optimized. After all, if the usability is terrible, the website won’t get re-visited.

WHAT USABILITY OFFERS

As you can imagine, most 21st century advertising agencies ensure their clients’ websites aren’t only up and running but are also performing on all cylinders—peak usability. Especially when 98% of online shoppers have been dissuaded from making a purchase because of a brand’s incomplete website. So not only is the content crucial, but the way a website guides you through the purchase process is also a priority. In fact, NNGroup recommends that 10% of a design budget should be spent on usability because it will more than double that site’s quality metrics (the scale on which consumer comfort and needs are measured). The more people enjoy using your site, the more likely they’ll come back for more.

“It’s my job to code the visual and digital elements that we see and interact with on the internet,” says Sarah Donahue, front end developer for SFW. “I transform the work of our design team into a flexible design that works no matter what screen size it’s viewed on.”

In addition, developers at SFW take into account the aesthetic-usability effect. In a nutshell, if Donahue makes a client’s website look attractive, the consumer will think they’re more reliable. It’s a process bred by association, where according to NNGroup, a positive emotional response to what you see makes you more tolerant of small usability issues. That’s all to say this: the more beautiful a site, the less its flaws matter.

It might be a lot to juggle, but developers like Donahue really enjoy the process.

“A lot of my job is figuring out how to make things work,” states Donahue. “It challenges my brain in a fun sort of way—like solving a logic puzzle.”

What SFW aims to do is focus on the aesthetic-usability effect by making sure our clients’ sites and other digital assets are beautiful and usable, but also that their messages, values, or ideas are being communicated effectively. For example, Amazon A+ Content is a program that enhances a product page with visuals that helps urge a user to buy, and it better communicates the value of the product overall. Most importantly, it helps customers make informed decisions and it can increase sales up to 10% according to Amazon. So, while usability is greatly important to the success of a website, the visual message is a significant factor in keeping an audience’s attention.

“The most important thing about my job is to consider the users’ experiences,” says Donahue. “Our clients will be happiest if I can make sure they reach their goals and have a positive interaction altogether.”

THE TAKEAWAY

It seems like common sense to say, “something needs to work in order for people to like it.” Having an agency like SFW on your side will ensure that your consumer will always have the best experience possible.

With excellent usability, you’ll always leave them wanting more.