Published On :06 May,2009
Great usability is a key ingredient of a successful website. However, there are certain things that can hamper the usability of your website and ruin user experience altogether. A good 'usable' website has a clear and intuitive navigation structure, clear text presentation, search functionality and good website structure. Apart from making sure your website follows these considerations, you also need to make sure that you don't do anything that hamper the usability quotient of your website.
Here are some common things that you should avoid.
Unclear Login Links
One of the most common mistakes in web designs is the login links not being clearly visible. It is a great task in itself to get people to sign up and log in to the website. And once you have that done, you waste no time in making them log in directly. Believe it or not... one of the prime reasons for bounce rate is that users fail to locate the 'Log In' link. This makes the website highly unusable. Newly registered users are not very familiar with the website and do tend to take time to log in. and it is your responsibility to make sure they have an easy time. Make the log in link very clear so that website users don't have any problem in locating it.
No Pop-Up Blocker
Nothing frustrates users more than the annoying pop-ups that pop up every now and then. That is why popular browsers like Firefox, IE, Safari etc. use pop-up blockers to prevent pop-ups or anything that resembles advertisements. Therefore, it is not a good idea to use pop-ups to present your main content. Because if that gets blocked altogether, the whole purpose of the website is lost.
Absence of Vertical Navigation
Many designers come up with a unique idea of cutting down vertical navigation and use dragging instead (as it is in the case of PDF documents). Users don't get to use the vertical scroll bar but have to clutch the page and drag it down if they need to view contents that lie in the latter half of the web pages. Though it is not a popular form of navigation now, it might be a future trend. However, users would take their time to be accustomed and grow comfortable to this. In fact, if you decide to use the 'dragging' method, you would need to provide a introductory info box at the start of the website that informs the users about this type of navigation.
Its very important to let your visitors know where they are, where they had been and where they can go from here. And this information should be very clear in the links. That is why it is advisable to use different colors for links. Usually, all the links are blue and underlined, the visited links are purple and the present location link has a different format that specifies their present location.
Drop Down Menus
This one is tricky. While drop down menus are an excellent choice for web designers to save the vertical space and align the navigation elements, it often tends to frustrate the visitors. This is because they have to focus their mouse cursor to the precise area and section of the drop down menu in order to click through. A slight shift and the user ends up clicking something else altogether.
Maneet Puri is the Managing Director of LeXolution IT Services, a reputed web development company based in India. His firm specializes in offering a range of professional website design services and website optimization services. For more information visit www.lexolutionit.com