Let’s begin at the beginning by answering this simple question. Usability is simply how easy it is for a user to understand and operate your ‘thing’ and accomplish their goals. This ‘thing’ could be a Web site, a car, a refrigerator, or an MP3 player…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that your customer immediately understands how to work with it without having to read the user manual. The ‘learning curve’ should seem invisible and users should feel delighted with the ease-of-use and the efficiency of completing their task.
Using an analytics package like Google Analytics or WebTrends can help you get a grasp on how people are using and traveling throughout your site. Are they hitting your home page then immediately bailing? This would be an obvious indication that you have a usability problem. Are they getting you your product pages but not converting to customers? Then your product pages deserve another look. And what about your shopping cart? Analytics can give you a birds-eye view of how your customers are behaving on your site.
Your site is successful only if your users are successful. That’s the basic premise of usability. User experience = customer service. Answers the customer’s questions, anticipate their questions, make things easy to find, and meet their needs. And that’s all you really need to know.
My name is Michael. I am a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, & Social Media Content Producer in the Baltimore / D.C. area.
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