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3 great ways to improve website usability

Published by vasiliy.kiryanov on April 12, 2010 under design, web-development  

web heatmap systems

They have been used for displaying areas of a Web page most frequently scanned by visitors, and allow you to understand how people are using your website. This is quite useful to find layouts that don’t work as intended or areas that should be changed.

heatmap screenshot

There are many open-source tools that you can integrate into your site, free solutions and paid services with enormous amounts of features. Just make a Google search, and check few most appropriate solutions.

user testing

There are few steps:
1. Understand what are your users, find out target group.
2. Establish use cases of your system, main flows of your system like: site sing-up, password recovery, post search, etc.
3. Ask some users from target group to go thru all use cases.

Few notes:
Check where users stuck and simplify the flow.
Ask simple questions, let them explain why they made something and if the result corresponded with the idea they had in mind.
Ask them what functionality your site lack?
Ask them what was hard to use on your site.

It can be hard to estimation how many users you may need for testing. Jeff Sauro wrote great article where explained why five users should be sufficient to find most of your interface problems.
Check it: http://www.measuringusability.com/five-users.php

log analysis/analytics

You can get a lot of useful information that can make your site better by analyzing information from logs or by installing external tracking tools.

Features that can help to improve site usability:
Visiting by days of week and rush hours,
Domains/countries of hosts visitors,
Most viewed posts and exit pages,
Browsers used,
HTTP errors,
Screen size, etc.

related links

Scrolling and Attention : http://www.useit.com/alertbox/scrolling-attention.html
Do users fail a task and still rate it as easy? : http://www.measuringusability.com/failed-sat.php

also I want to recommend 1 book that impressed me:
Steve Krug’s “Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems”

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One Response to “3 great ways to improve website usability”

  1. Jhon machester says:

    Great post, simple and clear definitions. thanks.

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