Basics of Web Usability

by Vanessa on November 12, 2010

In some ways Ecommerce site owners like to think that Internet shopping is vastly different from shopping in a store and that it has its own set of rules. And that argument can certainly be made, but in so many cases, the fundamentals apply in any shopping environment: online or in a brick-and-mortar store.

A good experience for a person shopping in a brick-and-mortar store is relatively easy to quantify . . . a clean, comfortable environment; friendly shopkeeper; items in stock that the customer wants; items are easy to find and the presentation is appealing, agreeable prices; and a feeling of security in being able to return the item if it doesn’t work. Online, it’s really not so different. Clean, easy to navigate website; helpful, friendly information on the site; items in stock that the customer wants; items are easy to find and the presentation is appealing, agreeable prices; and a feeling of security in being able to return the item if it doesn’t work.

If you’re evaluating how to design your website or possibly considering a redesign, there are some basics of usability that should be your standards for a positive online customer experience.

Create a welcome relationship. Once people order from your site, of course you hope that they will order from you again. Your site should serve to build a relationship with your customers so that they will think of your site the next time they want something for themselves or a gift for someone else. Through the whole shopping experience, you want to welcome the shopper to your store, connect with them, provide them with what they want, and extend yourself to them to build a long-term relationship that will encourage them to come back. The usability on the site needs to support those goals.

Watch a friend or family member navigate your site. One of our recent blog posts, “Raise Your Conversion Rate With User Testing,” suggests sitting down with a family member or friend who does not know your site and is not an experienced Internet user. The blog posts describes key points to evaluate to see if they have trouble navigating the site and order process.

Design a clear and simple navigation system. Users want to know where to find things on the site without having to put much thought into it. They want to know where they are on the site. They want to know how to get back to pages that they previously viewed—a breadcrumb navigation system is great for this (click the link to visit our website for a visual explanation of breadcrumb navigation). And they want to know where else they can go on the site.

Include complete contact information. Present complete contact information including your business phone number and postal address on every page. Include a “Contact Us” page with mailto links or contact form, but also allow for other contact methods.

Include a site search box. A robust site search feature helps visitors quickly locate the information they want.

Keep colors and typefaces consistent. The customer should see your brand, logo and colors throughout the site.

Keep page layout consistent. Use a uniform page structure. Don’t switch the locations of important page elements from one page to the next.

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  • Best of luck. Included more information in future of the ecommerce for the successive blog related to the another great topic.

  • Best of luck. Included more information in future of the ecommerce for the successive blog related to the another great topic.

  • Thank you for posting.

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