Design for Usability
Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 07/10/2016 | Author: Kerri Thomas
When clients task a designer to build or enhance a website, they expect a quality experience. The design should be eye-catching, memorable, and above all usable. The trick is to make an impression on the user visually, while meeting and exceeding the developmental and informational goals of the site itself. A user-centered design is what any good designer strives for, and they should keep the following points in mind when working.
Access – It might seem elementary, but it should be remembered – your website is useless if it’s not accessible. Availability is key, so keep in mind pitfalls like server uptime and dead links on your site. Prevent clutter and prioritize content. Accessibility also means how your site performs on different platforms, devices, and mobility connections, so work out optimum usability for each.
Interface – Designing for usability means ease of interface for the customer. You don’t want to create an experience that needs extensive instruction, confusing interaction, or long stretches of trial and error. Ease of learnability and pattern recognition is a vital component of a usable design. This doesn’t mean new and creative design shouldn’t be implemented, just remember that a simplicity of navigation should be factored in when offering information or instruction.
Achieve – A user comes to you with a goal in mind. Make sure they can achieve it. A positive usability experience is one that provides a clear path for accomplishing tasks with as little resistance as possible. Usability through clarity begins with a confident guidance. Show them what you offer, and how to get there. Offer a simple journey with a consistent tone, and they’ll be able to achieve their goal.
Trust – If people don’t trust what they see, they’ll move on. The best way to gain credibility as a designer is to accept nothing short of perfection, especially in the details. If you’re riddled with small site errors (spelling, punctuation, etc.) then you won’t be trusted with the big picture. Your reputation for quality should be a badge to proudly wear, in both content and creativity. That’s what builds a usable experience.
Marketability – Finally, make sure your usable design is relevant in today’s marketplace. It may be tempting to repeat a tried and true design concept, but be sure to reliably ascertain its freshness. A designer always needs to take inventory of their toolbox and replace outdated methods and processes, insuring they’ll have a modern outlook on usability design.