“The goal is always the same: improve the user experience. This is not the main goal, it is the only goal.” – UdiManber, VP Engineering, Search Quality, Google
The subject of usability is about providing an easy, intuitive and fun experience to a site visitor. Often people think that this means removing pages, cutting the verbiage and improving the graphics, but it’s just not that simple.
A website needs to flow naturally from simple, to in-depth, depending on the intent of the user. The top level of your site may well benefit from cutting down on the verbiage and improving the graphics, but should a user want to delve deeper to find out more about what you do, for how long and how well; they should be able to find this information easily.
The rewards for getting this right may make the difference between global success and outright failure.
You may be thinking that’s a big claim. Well it is and it isn’t. If you are only thinking about a user’s on-site experience then the ‘worst’ thing that can happen if your site has not considered its usability factor, is your conversion rate may be lower than it could be and you may lose customers to your competition.
That’s not nearly the worst of it though. Your search result placement can relate directly to usability. This can be done either directly – through search engines algorithms looking for alt tags and other basic usability signals, but it can also be done indirectly. For instance, if your site provides a great user experience, then people are going to link to your site, like it on Facebook, +1 it on Google or blog about it. All of this will have a big impact on your search results page placement.
Google and other major search engines have all said that social interaction and referencing will become more and more important to their search algorithms in the future. Put simply, the search engines are going to be putting more emphasis on what real people are saying about your site.
The only way to get real people to talk about your site is by making sure you’ve got great engaging content organised from a usability perspective.
Usability is not about sacrificing content to make the site easier to use for the lowest common denominator, it’s about site architecture that creatively and intelligently provides information at all levels, right down to the very inquisitive, without impinging on the experience of the casual visitor.
Author Bio:- Bob Runnels writes for a digital marketing agency, and as such has a wide knowledge when it comes to a range of topics, including website usability.