Web usability: best practices guide

Written by

Paloma García

UX · 16 / 05 / 2019

In the society so changeable that we are living, where speed plays a very important role, It is essential that websites offer a full web usability For users.

The high level of competition and the great offer that the Internet users receive every day, obliges the companies to measure in a very exhaustive way the user experience. And this is only possible thanks to the Ability to respond to the marketing goals you have set at the starting point.

The Current trend in web design focuses on minimalism and simplicity. Clean spaces abound and the priority is simple, intuitive and efficient usability.

Today I want to Talk about how you can improve the usability of your website.I will teach you the principles that best define this process, in addition to sharing with you a series of tips that will help you find the full usability you want for your customers.

Let’s start!

The principles of web usability

The Web usability consists of comfort and ease that people have To achieve a goal, when they are interacting with a device.

A priori, it seems like a simple thing; However, you should know what the Principles of Web Usability, To be able to provide a good user experience to your potential customers.

Jakob Nielsen is a computer engineer of Danish origin, who It has worldwide recognition of usability on the web. This prestigious engineer designed the 10 Basic principles of Web usability In the year 1995, which are still used today.

Let’s see the famous Decalogue of the Web usability guru.

1. Visibility of System Status

Users who enter your website and start to interact with it, They need to know what’s going on at all times. You have to keep them informed.

When a user submits a form, for example, to subscribe to your page, you need to know what is happening at all times. The most common thing is to receive an email where you must confirm your recent subscription by clicking on the address you say.

Other examples may be the Process of loading an image, Or when downloading a file from your website. You also have a good example with thebreadcrumbs, or breadcrumbs; With this simple gesture, the user knows at all times on which part of the web is located.

2. Communication between the system and the real world

The system has to communicate with users using their language. It must be adapted so that the user can understand what he is seeing.

And not only do you get appropriate words, or using colloquial phrases. They are also very importantthe icons that appear on the web.

For example, we all have assumed that a trash is the symbol of deleting a file, an image, etc.

3. User control and freedom

This principle deserves special attention because it does not always apply to all Web pages that are on the net.

When a user is wrong, you have to offer the easiest way for you to rectify. Ease this task with a undo button, for example, or your potential customer can remove a product from the shopping cart that you no longer want.

4. Consistent standards

Remember that With web usability The easiest thing is the most effective. Now not only are words used to communicate with users, as we are increasingly accustomed to communicating with Gestures and icons.

A very simple example is in the colors of the buttons that the user can find while surfing the web. All Internet users have very assumed that the green buttons are to accept and the Reds are to cancel or reject.

Don’t try to change this rule Because it is easy for Internet users to visit your website make a lot of mistakes, and that goes To the detriment of the user experience.

And a very basic example but that there are pages that do it, is the location of the menus. If your home is upstairs, do not change sites on the different pages of the website. You will only get tired by having to find the menu every time you access a URL of your website.

5. Prevention of errors

Your website You have to be able to prevent any mistakes the user can make. And, in the event of comet, the Web must immediately offer the possibility of rectifying.

The best example of this is found in the Google search engine and its AutoComplete option. This allows the user to write correctly; He’s previniéndole a mistake.

6. Recognize instead of remembering

This is another of the principles of web usability that you should pay special attention to your page. You have to Provide the user with the information he or she needs through visible objects, actions, or options.

Let me give you an example; Imagine that the user is using a text editor and wants to change the font.

It will always be easier to visualize the font in the available menu, to have to memorize what was called that type of letter that you installed a week ago.

7. Flexibility and efficiency of use

Your website has to be accessible and useful for all types of users;From the Internet user who enters your website for the first time, to the client who knows your web to perfection because it uses it frequently.

A very clear example of this principle of web usability that is proposed by Jakob Nielsen, is in the Google search engine.

A user who has no experience in this web site and is looking for the definition of usability, when he arrives at the search bar will put whatever happens to him related to his search intent.

However, a user who knows the operators of the search engine, for the example I’m putting you type in the search the command “define: Usability”.

Therefore, Google’s web meets this principle because any user can navigate its interface without problems. For some, it is a flexible web and for others it is efficient.

8. Aesthetic and minimalist design

The famous phrase “Less is more” is perfect here. Your website has to have the right design and content to be understood by users.

Forget to includeWords that do not contribute anything to your content.It is also not good to recharge the web ofunnecessary buttons and menus.

To achieve this principle of web usability, you must know your potential client very well. And offer him what he likes; Although you should not forget the simplicity of the whole design.

9. Help users recognize, diagnose and correct errors

Every time an error occurs on your website while a user is browsing, the system has to know Inform the internet about what is happening and how you can get out of there.

For example, when a user accesses a URL on your website and meets the famous error 404. It is easy for you to know its meaning; However, there are people who do not understand the meaning of that screen.

Keep the user informed at all times; Explain what’s going on and how you can get out of there. In the example of the error 404 offer an internal navigation menu, or a way to return to the previous page.

10. Help and documentation

Although the purpose of web usability should always be to make it easier for users to navigate through your page, Sometimes you need to contribute some kind of help manual.

This usually happens when the user accesses sites where he should use applications, a step by step in a management or the sale price of your product is very high.

In such cases, You must facilitate access to a help manual, which should also be readily readable and understood. Also, you can create small video tutorials that help improve the user experience.

And the FAQ is ideal to clarify any questions the user may have.

Practical tips for a good web usability

It is true that Jakob Nielsen’s web usability principles are very effective; However, they are quite generic, i.e. they are not specific usage guidelines.

I’m going to leave you some Tips to help you better understand how you can put all this into practice of what I’ve been talking about throughout this guide.

  • Avoid including items from your website “under construction”:When you are still missing things to complete on your website, do not let the user know.
  • Design and build your website According to your company’s target.This is obvious, but it’s a good thing you consider it. Because it is not the same as a child audience that the biker community of your city, for example.
  • Provides only Relevant, clear and very concise information. Avoid using phrases that do not contribute anything, as well as adverbs and empty words.
  • Your Page should tell the user at any time where he can navigate. Here you must take into account the interests of your company and those of the user; To navigate wherever and wherever you wish to do so.
  • Never give priority to design on functionality. It is true that many times you can get carried away by a striking design, but in the end who commands is the user; And it only works what’s useful for your potential customers.
  • Used Clear and easy-to-understand URLs. Each one must be unique and very descriptive.
  • Place contact information in a visible way For users. Don’t let him have to take too many turns to find a way to contact you.
  • Design the Web page in a way Hierarchical and very simple to handle. Remember, anyone who enters it will be able to use it.
  • Avoid animations that do not contribute anything to the user. You should assess whether the animations you are going to incorporate along your website make it easier for the user to navigate or if they don’t really add any value. In the case of not contributing anything, better not include them.
  • Creates Clear calls to action and do not give rise to doubt. Making these action calls stand out over the rest of the content, for example by using the font’s color or size, will make it easier for the user to quickly identify them along your website.

Developing a whole web usability system requires a great team of professionals behind. In Digital Menta We can do all this work for you.

Tell us what your marketing goals are and we will turn them into solutions for your customers.


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