Usability Considerations: Errors and Help

Two very important factors that should be considered and go hand in hand are the errors and amount and type of help that will be made available to users.

Errors (or the lack of it) is one of the major components of usability, which obviously makes it a big consideration. However, this time when considering errors I am not pertaining to correcting bugs and making sure that there are as few code errors as possible. Of course that should be done but any experienced web designer knows that there are errors bound to slip one’s notice and only pop out for the users’ (dis)pleasure.

In website design to make the site more usable you should consider what the usual errors are that your users make. This will come out during user testing. For example, users might keep on mistaking a certain kind of text font or a cute logo as a link and keep clicking on it, or they might not realise that certain links are links and so have a hard time finishing their task. Another example would be users that enter wrong or no information in required fields to finish a task. By learning which aspects of your website users are having most difficulty with you can address these usability concerns by either making some basic changes in your web design, such as making links more prominent or giving clearer instructions to help fill out forms, or designing friendly and non-threatening error messages to make users aware that they are not on the right track.

to be continued…

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