5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site

We recently had the chance to surf the web and gawk at the type of sites out there. To tell you the truth, it reminded the team of the olden days – not necessarily the days of annoying, ugly websites, or slews of 90′s angelfire sites like the Vampire Cats Club, but close. There were a lot of reminders to be had and we thought we’d pass a few on to you (because we’re nice like that).

#1: Remember the Navigationally Challenged Visitor

Navigating Spaghetti JunctionImage via Wikipedia 

These tips aren’t in any particular order, but if they were, we’d put this one at the top anyway. Why?

Even if you only had 100 visitors a month to your site, we could almost guarantee that at least half of them are navigationally challenged. In other words, they aren’t going to automagically know which buttons to push to get where they want to be. You, with intimate knowledge of your site’s architecture, must help visitors navigate the slippery slopes of site surfing.

You do this with two little things called consistency and guidance.

Consistency - When they come in from a search result, social media link or even an ad on another site, something has to let them know they’ve reached the right page. Where’s the connection? Is there one? Or have you done what many do and half-hazardly placed links everywhere on the off chance that the visitor might click on one of them?

Guidance – The whole point of having a navigation in the first place is to help your visitors get around your site and find the most important places. Are they going to do that if the link text is confusing (i.e. not straightforward) or buried under other things? You have to help them get where they want to go.

What if they don’t know where they want to go? Ah…. Again, that’s why you give them the navigation. A benefit of a clear navigation is that it provides you with a way to promote available information and products.

So… don’t expect your visitors to be able to find their way around. Many won’t. Test, test and test again!

#2: Remember Your Content When You Design

Image via Motifake

Your content and your design go hand-in-hand. The prettiest design ever will not make up for your content’s lack of interesting information, but an ugly design can lower your content’s ability to inform. How?

Blinded by the lightBright pink sites may look pretty to some, but they can be hell on the eyes for others. Then again, this may not be any better. FYI, burning the retinas of your visitors is not a good way to be enduring.

Distraction, distraction, distraction – Have you ever visited a site, started looking around, and realized an hour later that… well, it’s an hour later? That site was sticky. Surfing a blog for an hour is great; surfing a product site without buying for an hour probably isn’t. The likelihood of you buying something after that hour is pretty slim.

#3: Remember Visitor Choice

You can keep your design (within reason) and still help your visitors out by offering them a choice. For example, alternative style sheets give your visitors the ability to strip away the awkward styles to find a more simplistic version of your site. Although it’s not perfect by any means, we’ve created an alternative style sheet to show you an example.

You’re viewing our current theme now, but if you click here, you’ll see the simplistic version. Clicking the “current theme” link will bring you back to the original version. It may have some kinks, so bear with us (for any browsers that may currently not be able to see it,the screenshot is above).

You can learn more about alternative style sheets and how to create this affect at A List Apart.

Choice can also come by offering RSS feeds to separate areas of your site. For example, if you’re only interested in branding, you can use the feed from our branding category to get the information to your inbox. You can set your feed reader to pick up each category individually, or the whole site all at once.

#4: Clean Up Your Search

Here’s a question. When you put that search box on your site, did you test it? If you’re asking, “what search box,” you need to get one quick. Putting a search feature on your site allows visitors to find what they’re looking for faster and easier. It does need to be clearly labeled, however, and wide enough that the visitor can quickly scan what they typed before searching.  Finally, make sure you’ve tested your search feature, and that the results are reliable.

Finally, Remember Your Business

Level343 doesn’t currently offer feeds separately to the public because we don’t have regular postings in each category. For those that signed up for branding, for instance, you might get anywhere from two to eight a month, depending on how often we touch on that topic. So, keep those things in mind before you just willy-nilly implement things. It does depend on your site, and your business needs.

The key is to look at your business and your market. Everything you do online has to 1) positively reflect your business and 2) be helpful to your market. The same goes for your website. Anytime you consider making a change (and even with the website you currently have), ask yourself, “Does this positively reflect my business?” and “Is this helpful to my market?”

About Level 343

This account is where everyone involved with Level343 content marketing efforts show up. You can say there is no "I" in this team. Sometimes we will chat about a certain topic with a variation of ideas, suggestions, even opinions. Then one of us will start writing the post, hand it over to someone else who will continue the diatribe. Eventually it ends up on our editors desk who either chops the hell out of it, or you're reading it right now.

Comments

  1. Going to forward this article to a friend of mine who actually has a blog that is entirely pink! She really needs to read this. Thanks for these great website usability tips.

  2. I never realize this “Clean Up Your Search” I just placed a search box without trying thinking that it will work since the code was from google and it will definitely bring some earnings for me.

  3. Guys, now I know you mean business when you are talking about how a website should look like. I really like your idea, but for me the real interesting part was that walk down the memory lane on how the websites used to be built in the late ’90s!

  4. It sounds quite interesting what you wrote about feeds, very helpful. I agree with you: business and market.

    Congratulations for the post.

Trackbacks

  1. Sofyma Web says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site
    http://t.co/C3ubLH7E – Wednesdays UX/Accessibility @SofymaWEB

  2. RT @glenn_ferrell: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/fKC6gB6e RT @Runaisa @level343

  3. RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/KqtIWKrI

  4. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/hF1ub1JV RT @Runaisa @level343

  5. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/hF1ub1JV RT @Runaisa @level343

  6. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  7. RT @glenn_ferrell: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/6n5apu31 RT @level343

  8. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/hF1ub1JV RT @level343

  9. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  10. RT @level343: 5 #Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface #Web Design http://t.co/Lh1oeR1i

  11. RT @level343: 5 #Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface #Web Design http://t.co/Lh1oeR1i

  12. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  13. RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/stX732KG

  14. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/vkhRiggL

  15. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/I2rUZh9v | #UI

  16. Jaime Menor says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site Web Design http://t.co/hnLZLSgB

  17. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  18. RT @level343: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/JBAQqOE0

  19. Alex Hall says:

    http://t.co/ipmqybiz – 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site

  20. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/I2rUZh9v | Here’s a Q. When you put that search box on your site…

  21. Wayne Barker says:

    RT @level343: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/jH20dBkZ

  22. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #UI #Design http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  23. Anise Smith says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/ZXscw3Tq via @SEOcopy

  24. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #UI http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  25. LisaLadrido says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/5WDN6fwO via @SEOcopy

  26. RT @ErenMckay: RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/vapw7lGe

  27. RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/vapw7lGe

  28. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/akkc0IBx via @SEOcopy

  29. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/PjydF85x via @SEOcopy

  30. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/2T7XzhNr

  31. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #userinterface #WebDesign http://t.co/UVW0OnAc

  32. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/LoYyo2YH

  33. TECHPLUGGED says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/xH7wR5QB via @SEOcopy

  34. TECHPLUGGED says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/e0wOFieO via @SEOcopy

  35. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/5kn83JMQ via @SEOcopy

  36. Tonia Ries says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/Y4Atn40l via @SEOcopy

  37. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/lG1yeTqc | always willing to give more ♥

  38. Yo! Yo! SEO says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/AvW4u6Xd via @SEOcopy #content

  39. Marck V. says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/21Ix8rvU via @SEOcopy

  40. KeyMedia PR says:

    http://t.co/ZMQNPgNG if you are looking to rebuild your site!

  41. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site – http://t.co/V6iCoFSE @wsiabelpardo

  42. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site: http://t.co/mfXidlHa via @ShellyKramer

  43. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/0BEBJt5G

  44. I like number 3 >> RT @ShellyKramer via @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/gL7VEFFo

  45. Joe Thomas says:

    RT @ShellyKramer: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/r5bBnKe8 via @SEOcopy

  46. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/xnZSTdF2 via @SEOcopy

  47. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site – http://t.co/V6iCoFSE @wsiabelpardo

  48. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/eD9irBMK via @SEOcopy

  49. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/qXQAje0e via @SEOcopy

  50. Stella Early says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site:
    http://t.co/rK12oCK4
    - Level343 Team

    http://t.co/NwhbAYzG

  51. RT @level343: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface #Web Design http://t.co/ZUAhhcRH

  52. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/lG1yeTqc | Please share responsibly…

  53. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/yiFcNbnU

  54. Tim McDonald says:

    Checking out. RT @danielnewmanUV: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/LWRNXjmI via @SEOcopy

  55. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/9XjL57w6 via @SEOcopy

  56. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site: We recently had the chance to surf the web and gaw… http://t.co/fHSCKTE3

  57. Thanks for all the RT ❤ you guys Rock!! 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/iLgeRqxh

  58. Paul Spoerry says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/ueC7vyNv via @SEOcopy

  59. PackFlash says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/tpyiiIIp

  60. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/lSJsTZTN #Content #user interface #Web Design

  61. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/qNM3lEda via @SEOcopy

  62. Wayne Barker says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site via @level343 >> http://t.co/n71wpvG4

  63. Misty Waters says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/si7RjiF3 via @SEOcopy

  64. TechSpaceLA says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/UVW0OnAc | Thanks for all Rt's goodnight

  65. RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/vH9Bstq6

  66. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/UKpM0YWK via @Level343 HT @SocialMouths #digi #in

  67. RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/3plx3Pvw

  68. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/X45TJ1g9 via @level343 | Usability trumps all.

  69. Michael Gray says:

    RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/hU3Qn7RJ

  70. altacr8 says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/zbsMNpk0 via @SEOcopy

  71. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/NHAltijY via @level343 @kathikruse #osswac

  72. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/MhX46gNZ via @SEOcopy

  73. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/t8VwpYV5 via @SEOcopy

  74. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/t8VwpYV5 via @SEOcopy

  75. Sean Charles says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/KtD1V1up via @SEOcopy

  76. Ching Ya says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/PN3cVI9d via @SEOcopy

  77. Brad Miller says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/LI9h78xm

  78. Brad Miller says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/LI9h78xm

  79. AU_DigKim says:

    RT @socialmouths 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/HMS1BGsQ via @SEOcopy #AUdigskills

  80. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/CygddiL6 via @SEOcopy

  81. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/CygddiL6 via @SEOcopy

  82. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/uBdaLshA via @level343

  83. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/uBdaLshA via @level343

  84. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site – http://t.co/Y1Q5XjvG

  85. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site – http://t.co/Y1Q5XjvG

  86. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/QRy7SwBO via @SEOcopy

  87. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/QRy7SwBO via @SEOcopy

  88. Todd Mintz says:

    RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/pjaesPqL

  89. Todd Mintz says:

    RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/pjaesPqL

  90. Patricia says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/0puwOl7G via @SEOcopy

  91. Adam justice says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/w0HWQ06k via @SEOcopy

  92. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/nprlWelr via @SEOcopy

  93. iggy pintado says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/qGqySIwl via @SEOcopy

  94. Joe Prasad says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/gspyGNXM via @SEOcopy

  95. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/gOUjEVnz via @SEOcopy

  96. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/bqEUalaz via @SEOcopy

  97. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/vapw7lGe | Thanks for all Rt's goodnight

  98. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/UVW0OnAc | Thanks for all Rt's goodnight

  99. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/RNDDSyXc via @SEOcopy

  100. Good one. RT @level343: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/4AaYf8CN | Fresh squeezed post

  101. Nancy Nardin says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/lj243cDi via @SEOcopy

  102. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/iLgeRqxh | #UI , good stuff… if I may say so myself lol

  103. Michelle Kay says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/asoCEznZ via @SEOcopy

  104. Amit Verma says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/8I6Uut8a via @SEOcopy

  105. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/xfeKkFIf | Fresh squeezed post… please share resoponsibly

  106. Great 1!RT @level343: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface #Web Design http://t.co/vapw7lGe

  107. Laura Crest says:

    Great 1!RT @level343: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface #Web Design http://t.co/dszrrMsb

  108. @MoreInMedia need address & hours on homepage 2 RT: 5 Website Usability Tips 4 Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/remO2VCZ via @SEOcopy

  109. @MoreInMedia Also accessibility w/audio readers for blind/visually impaired RT: Website Usability Tips http://t.co/remO2VCZ via @SEOcopy

  110. @MoreInMedia need address & hours on home page! RT: 5 Website Usability Tips 4 Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/L0hvZvxN via @SEOcopy

  111. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/aqT0XqYp via @SEOcopy

  112. RT @Matt_Siltala: RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/vapw7lGe

  113. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/kPA9g8OZ via @SEOcopy

  114. RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/Cl2eBr9d

  115. Matt Siltala says:

    RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site #Content #user interface http://t.co/Cl2eBr9d

  116. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/iLgeRqxh our latest fresh squeezed post… :) Ty on all RT's

  117. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/iLgeRqxh our latest fresh squeezed post… :) Ty on all RT's

  118. Megan Leap says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/5NxSflFT via @SEOcopy

  119. Thomas says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/nZ5u211S via @SEOcopy

  120. Carla Young says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/8d8NLfsU via @SEOcopy

  121. MeetuSinghal says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/ib8skgzT via @SEOcopy

  122. RT @arkarthick: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/2bXU8ZR6 | via @SEOcopy

  123. RT @arkarthick: 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/ToUCyRP9 | via @SEOcopy

  124. A.R.Karthick says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/qBWtuVjy | via @SEOcopy

  125. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/zpd0WEs9 via @SEOcopy

  126. Rebecca Nash says:

    5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/gkVT2qDU via @SEOcopy

  127. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/gkVT2qDU via @SEOcopy

  128. 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/64e65MQi via @SEOcopy

  129. Bonnie Burns says:

    RT @searchcentral: RT @SEOcopy 5 Website Usability Tips for the Professionally Helpful Site http://t.co/TLjmJp8n

Speak Your Mind

*