1. Availability and Accessibility
The availability and accessibility of your website is the most important aspect of usability. Just imagine if your users try to access your website and it doesn’t load on time because of the server error. Your website will become worthless for all of your users. It's like you have billions of dollars but they are in bank and banks are closed and ATMs are not working!
If it's one time thing, like I am talking about really rare thing to happen–maybe once a year then your users won't be mad because they can understand the glitch. But if it's almost every other week then it's going to make them go mad and they will stop visiting it soon enough and soon enough you'll lose the revenue as well.
Let's talk about few of the basics of availability and accessibility.
If you have pretty good estimate about your site traffic then invest in the hosting accordingly. Never go for cheap hosting unless you don't have good traffic and you're just starting your website and you want to check the hosting services before going with them permanently. But after few months, once your make a decision, go for the best plan and not for the cheap one.
It's so frustrating for anyone that after clicking on some link on your website, it doesn't do anything at all! Do not keep those dead links. There are tons of tools available for free using which you can find broken links on your websites and remove them. Some of the tools are ahref, moz, SEOptimer, etc.
If you have Google Analytics connected to your website, then you should be able to see the percentage of users coming from desktop and from mobile as well as from tablets. And I am 100% sure that almost 40%-50% users will be coming from mobile devices. So it's really important that you make the website mobile ready. Also, Google is going to punish your ranking if the pages are not mobile friendly. So a great mobile site will help you get better search results.
The core of usability is clarity.
Imagine if you have some links which are leading nowhere. For example, you have contact us button which takes users to 404 page and then from that page you redirect them to the contact us page. I am not kidding. Go to this beloved Coca Cola contact us page and see what happens. Cocacola Contact
No one likes to be distracted while they are on your website for some information or just to contact you. If you distract or confuse your users, they will either need more time to find what they came for, or they might forget their initial goal all together. Either way, they will not experience your website as user-friendly and chances are that they leave dissatisfied and with no intention of coming back.
Why do people visit websites? Because they want some information or at least they have some specific goal in mind before they make a visit to any website. It is website owner's job to help his visitors find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. If you can do that, your users will be happy and will keep coming back and promote your website.
We can achieve clear and usable design through following:
Keep your website as simple as possible–I am talking about essay navigation that will not distract users.
Make the structure of your website similar to some famous website in the same category. For example, if you have website with tutorials, use websites like w3schools for inspiration.
Create a consistent experience throughout your website.
It's a great idea to have little signs of guidance throughout your website rather than expecting users to find everything on their own.
Show users some feedback based on their clicks or submission. Create a good interactive experience for your users.
Good information architecture
Try to understand your users and their taste of design. For example, set some photos on specific locations, set some links on specific locations etc. It will create a great consistency as well.
When you design your website, design with intuitive interfaces. That means those kinds of interfaces won’t require instructions at all or your users won't need to keep trying to learn what's happening in a specific page.
Almost all users have some kind of website experience so they are familiar with a lot of design concepts used on the web. If we use these concepts consistently, we can meet users' expectations and help them find and represent contents more quickly.
Now, if they run across something which is completely unfamiliar website structure, they might hesitate staying the website or even coming back to it. So, it is really important to keep the new design consistent and filled with lots of guidance when we launch it until users are completely familiar with it.
We can add some silent notifications to ask users is they want guidance and if so, guide them completely and make them familiar on each visit if you add more features.
One of the pillar of any successful business. If people don't trust you or don't believe what you say then how come they will become your users? Even if people find the content they are looking for, if they don’t trust you, that content is worthless.
There are number of reasons any website could cause visitors to be skeptical about the business. They might think whether or not you really exist and if so, what's your reputation, or the quality of your content.
That's the reason we need a page that tells people about our story as a business or as an organization or even as an individual. Offer a clear and concise “About Us” page that not just gives basic information but tells the whole story. Make a connection with your users. Also provide a separate page in which include your contact details, physical address (if it's a business located somewhere and you want people to find out about it), and a contact form to send you a direct message.
The content of the website plays an important role as well. If you have grammatical mistakes or spelling mistakes on your website, people won't consider the website credible.
What's the point of visiting a website that gives you vage information and totally unrelated articles.
For example, css-tricks! The title mentioned CSS so people must be thinking that they must have CSS related contents but when they explore the website, it has almost all types of articles. That example is different as the website has established its user base and not the domain is irrelevant to their regular users. But for starters, it is very important to have relevant content. In fact, when css-tricks started, they only included css related content. As they grew, they decided to add more content but keep the same name.
Learn about your users, their interests and when they visit your website and what kind of information they look for when they come to your website. According to all that information, make a more user-friendly website for your users.
It's hard to achieve really good usability and it requires lots of efforts as well as it requires thorough user research and an iterative approach of constant testing and refining your website.
So, if your website doesn’t fall into the criteria mentioned above, don't worry. Keep following those points and you'll end up having a great user experience on your website.