As I have written again and again in this blog, usability is essential to a good website design. A pretty looking site that has plenty of usability problem might initially attract users but in the end will not really retain any users. The reason for this is simple. If a website is not usable people will simply leave the website and look for another resource wherein they will be able to navigate around more easily and find the information they need. The internet has tons of website about every kind of topic imaginable and internet users know this. What this means is that websites do not have a captive audience. In order to keep visitors you need to capture their attention and a website with usability issues simply won’t be able to do that.
In order to address usability issues in ones website though the web designer needs to realise that there are five basic components of usability that should be looked into - learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and satisfaction. Each of the five components need to be addresses in order for the website design to be truly usable. If one of the five components has a problem a website may still be usable but will not have full impact of an otherwise fully optimised site. What this means is that some visitors might not return or perform the desired actions (i.e. making a purchase or clicking on an Ad).
On my next posts I will be discussing each of the five components and how overall usability can be improved.