The Usability describes the ease and usability of a website. It is also known as “software ergonomics”. The better the usability of a page, the higher the probability of a conversion. Conversion rate optimization is the main goal of better usability. Technical as well as creative and psychological factors play a role in assessing usability. These have to be well coordinated.
Why is usability important?
Whether in an online shop or a service provider – good usability sells better. Because if a user has fewer obstacles to overcome on the way to a product or in the search for a service, the probability that he will buy or order a service is much higher. And don’t forget, it’s also much more likely to use the service on the same page again. In the case of insufficient usability, on the other hand, the user will most likely leave the site again very quickly – ergo: no purchase.
In addition, users now have much higher expectations of a website. The range is simply much larger, there are many more options for comparison. If the user doesn’t get what he wants straight away, he just clicks on the next search result and is with the competition.
Furthermore, poor usability often leads to increased service costs, ie many more users call to get information that they did not receive on the website. The increased effort in support can in turn have a detrimental effect on other tasks of the employees in this department.
According to acronymmonster.com, the degree of usability of a website depends on a number of factors. The common goal of all these factors is to let the user navigate the website as intuitively and simply as possible, to put no resistance on the way to a conversion and to improve the click and bounce rates.
In general, good usability correlates with an increase in the conversion rate. Increasing usability and making it user-friendly is therefore one of the main tasks of conversion optimization and is part of OnPage optimization.
Important factors for usability include:
With the first impression, a lot happens in the subconscious. Within a few seconds the decision is made as to whether the page looks serious, interesting, funny, etc. But it is also important that the user recognizes what is on offer in this short period of time.
Structure of the page / navigation:
A compromise between sales-promoting elements and ease of use must often be found here. On the one hand, the site must convince the user of the offer, on the other hand, navigation must be made as easy as possible for him.
This factor is particularly noticeable with older technologies. Pages that build up very quickly on a powerful computer may take much longer on an older computer. It is therefore important to increase the loading time of the website. Tips: Why a better page speed is important.
Users usually have little patience and want to get an overview as quickly as possible and recognize which action they have to carry out where. Important elements here are, for example, the image / text distribution, font size or calls for action.
How can you improve usability?
To increase usability, there are several “cogs” that can be turned:
Technology / accessibility
- short loading times
- speaking urls
- Avoid frames and popups if possible
- clear feedback on the actions of the user (UX), e.g. a confirmation that he has carried out an action
- The website has its own 404 page, which takes the user “by the hand” and takes him to other pages
- Responsive web design to enable the website to be used on different devices
Pictures / multimedia
- Users should have control over multi-media content, automatically playing videos are a no-go
Content / clear message
- clear information about what the user can expect, e.g. if he wants to make a purchase
- Identify categories clearly, use common terms
- strong contrast between text and background
- easy legibility thanks to large fonts, sufficient character spacing, paragraphs
- The format of texts or images should be clearly laid out and not disturb the eye
- An overview of both the overall structure of the site and individual segments (shopping cart, order process, lexicon, etc.) help the user to keep their bearings. Probably the best solution for this is breadcrumb navigation, which shows the user his current location within the structure of the website at any time.
- easy to find search functions, preferably in the top right corner
- Linking the logo to the home page
- Intuitive use of the tab key for forms
- Links are always marked the same way
- The same color scheme and style of the website are used throughout
- intuitively understandable structure that runs through the entire website
- Fulfill user expectations by placing certain elements in certain positions, e.g. company logo at the top left
Usability tests help website operators to check the usability of a site and to recognize where users run into problems. This allows you to determine in a targeted manner where the greatest weaknesses are and start there. In addition, usability tests have the advantage that they offer a view from the outside, so to speak, which is often clearly different from the corporate perspective. After all, users often have a completely different knowledge of the services and products than the company itself.
In a usability test, people are given precisely defined tasks that they have to perform on their part. You give the test persons a certain situation, for example you should find mattresses that match certain sleep requirements in a mattress online shop. The test subjects must then precisely document their steps, verbally or in writing. It is important here that the people do not yet know the offer, neither from their own experience nor from reports from other users.
There are many different ways to test usability. In addition to the method already described, in which people have to perform tasks and comment on their approach, it is also possible to use tools, e.g. mouse tracking tools or an eye tracking analysis.
Usability tests can also be used in the conception phase, for example with the “ card sorting” procedure. You can determine which design is the most user-friendly. For example, the test subjects receive cards with category names or menu titles and are asked to put them in a meaningful order for them.
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Interview in the SEO kitchen with Daniel Guechida from Eyequant
Usability – How to and Tools
Usability – influence on search engine optimization
Usability only has an indirect effect on search engine optimization, but it still influences ranking. Search engines cannot (yet) understand page content such as text, images or videos in the same way as a real user, but they can understand the page content and its quality with the help of meta information and user behavior.
Badly usable pages usually have a high bounce rate, which in turn can have a negative effect on the ranking. In contrast, pages that are clear, easy to navigate and easily accessible are seen by search engines as a signal of good website quality.
The aspect of “voluntary distribution” and its indirect impact on SEO should not be underestimated either: If the site offers a good user experience, it is much more likely that it will be shared, liked or otherwise recommended.