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What Is Website Usability – A Basic Understanding

Regardless of the purpose of your website and your overall goals, there is a single element you must actively satisfy – usability. This simple word literally means the difference between a successful website with high user engagement and a website that simply falls flat. If you’re interested in expanding the reach of your website while simultaneously solidifying your authority within your topic/industry, then you must actively work to fully understand website usability and how it influences the overall success of your digital enterprise.

The 5 Components of Website Usability

In the most generalized sense, the term website usability is defined as a quality attribute that works to assess how easily a user interacts with your website. The best websites are those that not only satisfy the information requirements/desires of visitors, but also one that is easy to navigate. The most sure-fire way you can guarantee a loss of interest and visitors is having a clunky and confusing website.

Although each website is unique in terms of its appearance and layout, the general components of effective website usability can be broken down into five parts. These five components of usability include:

  1. Learn-ability. This term refers to the level of ease a visitor who comes to your site for the first time can navigate throughout the entire interface. Is your website instantly recognizable and navigable from the moment a visitor enters its pages? You should never cultivate a website that features a “learning curve” in order to access all of its pages and features. Basically, your website must be self-explanatory – even to those who have difficulty navigating digital realms.
  2. Efficiency. After a visitor understands the layout of your website, how easy is it for them to perform their desired tasks? This can range from locating a specific product or service to locating an article they desire. There are many different elements that go into determining the overall efficiency and simplicity of your website.
  3. Memorability. After a visitor leaves your website and returns, what is the level of their recall? Are they able to remember how they reached a page within your site or are they confused because the navigation is complex? You must strive to make your website as easy to remember as possible. The memorability of your website interface ultimately determines whether or not a visitor will return at a later date.
  4. Error Rate. The goal is to establish a website that eliminates user errors by engaging in usability best practices. While there are going to always be user errors in terms of navigating to the wrong page, how quickly and easily can your visitors bounce back from these accidental errors is key.
  5. Satisfaction Rate. When your visitors are interacting with your website, how satisfied are they? Are they able to receive the information they need without having to wade through pages of useless information? How easy is it for them to navigate to specific, but different, pages throughout your interface? You must strive to increase user satisfaction in order to fully meet the website usability standards most internet visitors demand.
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