Usability is the act of balancing the goals of the user with the needs of the company or organization. In a large percentage of web sites the company is so focused on getting their message out they ignore their most basic need – you, the customer.
Jakob Neilsen’s Law of the Web User Experience states that “users spend most of their time on other websites.”
Omiture Technologies says a site has 3 seconds to hook you. According to Forrester research company “approximately 50% of potential sales are lost because users can’t find information and that 40% of user do not return to a site when their first visit is a negative experience.” These are pretty stark statistics.
What are some mistakes that cause the biggest problems? Companies often forget to ask a few basic questions.
- What are the company’s objectives, and how do they relate to the web?
- What does the user want to know?
- How easy is it for a user to find information?
- How does the user think the web site should work?
- What is the users experience level? (novice, some experience, expert)
- How do you effectively present information: writing for the web, usable navigation, and graphics?
If you notice the companies objectives are the first thing you should ask. The second question is ‘what does the user want?’ After that try to determine the best way to present your information to the user.
Ultimately you are balancing the company’s needs and goals with the ability, needs, and goals of the user. If it is done correctly your web site will meet your needs successfully.