12 Usability Secrets to a Profitable Website (the ROI of Usability)Submitted by admin on Sat, 08/02/2003 - 04:47 Posted in
1. Get users to where they need to be and support them if they get lost. Provide consistency in the way navigation looks and acts. Example: Make navigation flexible by showing page and section status.
2. Use screen layout strategically to maximize "button gravity". Specific areas of the screen cause predictable responses according to industry, academic and our own research. Example: "Next" type action steps do better in the bottom right area of the screen.
3. Make key transaction steps available both at the top and bottom to accommodate scrolling. In a scrolling environment it is important to offer redundant navigation cues. Example: Shopping cart "buy" buttons at the top and bottom the page.
4. Encourage users to qualify themselves with interactive functionality. Websites can help users become more motivated and interested in content or services and at the same time qualify them as leads (a type of self qualification). Example: A diabetes question and answer test.
5. Offer appropriate next steps or related items. Give users an exit strategy. Offer links or actions that lead them to a logical place. Example: Links, newsletter, PDF or other action.
6. Offer education paths for "soft leads". Don't assume all your visitors are convertible this very instant. Some of your users may be in the early stages of decision making and may require some time or repetition of information to decide. Example: A checklist or "ask the expert" column.
7. Offer quick paths to satisfy "hot leads". Some of your site traffic will want answers and options without any delay. Offer shortcuts and straight pathways to allow for instant gratification to users who are ready to take action. Example: A shortcut from the home page with an offer linked directly to product details.
8. Offer related links that support page content. Provide related links within a page or as a next step feature supportive of page content. Example: An outside link or third party endorsement.
9. Offer contact information and a personal touch. Provide easy to access contact information from any page, with a minimum one click away. On pages where appropriate, offer a person's name or an image of a person next to a contact number with a welcoming message. Example: Contact Shelly at 612-999-9999
10. Sell the benefits not the products. Product or services pages should focus on the benefits and the needs of the customer not the service or the product features. Example: A headline that asks the question "Are you missing the biggest thing since" vs. "Torpedo VI has two engines".
11. Use the language and metaphors of your target customer group. Customers have a greater connection to a site that calls links, button and navigation labels what the user would call them. Likewise functionality should be designed around familiar metaphors taken from the user's real world environment. Example: Open your Checkbook versus "Open Finance Manager"
12. Provide easy to understand value propositions on every page (per product, service or issue) to encourage meta-decision making. Meta decision making is a decision made above and beyond the individual user involving another person(s). Users will involve spouse, parent, colleague, manager or other people in their purchase decisions. Make your site easy to communicate by aligning taglines, headers and value proposition statements. Example: Images or colors that identify a section, slogans that match the product, navigation cues that can be described to another person as they navigate on the phone.