It is just as important to look at the Usability of your website as it is to look at its’ Accessibility. An accessible website can potentially be completely unusable. That is why there are methods available that enable you to evaluate the Usability of a website including a 25-point checklist provided by ‘User Effect’ (a consulting firm specialising in strategic usability for business websites).
Webcredible have an article on the subject “What is web usability & why is it important?”
- Every £1 invested in improving your website’s usability returns £10 to £100 (source: IBM)
- A web usability redesign can increase the sales/conversion rate by 100% (source: Jakob Nielson)
Trenton Moss goes on to point out the importance of:
- Easy Navigation
- Speedy Download
- Information that is easy to retrieve
- Avoiding restrictions such as lack of back button when links open in a new window, or use of frames etc.
- Explorative: Used early in product development to assess the effectiveness and usability of a preliminary design or prototype, as well as users’ thought processes and conceptual understanding.
- Assessment: Used midway in product development or as an overall usability test for technology evaluation. Evaluates real-time trials of the technology to determine the satisfaction, effectiveness, and overall usability.
- Comparative: Compares two or more instructional technology products or designs and distinguishes the strengths and weaknesses of each.
SUS – System Usability Scale
This is subjective likert scale test that can be used to test the usability of websites and software by looking at how effective they are at their task, how efficient they are and how satisfying the system is to use. The results of this test will tell to what extent the system is usable and the individual scores will give you an indication of what aspects need to be adjusted in order to improve the usability of the system. The creator of SUS, John Brooke, has published a paper about the scale that you can read for more information, SUS – A quick and dirty usability scale (Word Document Download).
Your Turn to Evaluate
You can use the scale yourself to evaluate any websites or software you like by simply utilising the evaluation survey. The test can be found online at http://access.ecs.soton.ac.uk/blog/training/usability/evaluation-questionnaire/ and is free to use.