A good website design is of course important, but no matter how good it looks you may lose visitors and customers if the site is difficult to use. Web users are easily frustrated and they know that the next site is just a click away. Visitors must be able to understand what your website is about within a matter of seconds, or you risk losing them.
Website usability is concerned with the human interaction aspect of the website - essentially, how easy and intuitive it is to understand and navigate. The subject is vast and many books have been written about it, but to summarize some key points:
- Web pages should show a consistent design across the site;
- Navigation controls should be clear and obvious (and in a consistent place);
- Link text should be clear, obvious and descriptive;
- Multimedia and animation should be used sparingly and with purpose (not just eye-candy);
- Content must be written specifically for the web – clear, concise and punchy;
- Web forms design should make it obvious what information is required and in what format;
- The website should be tested on all modern browsers in use;.
- Contact information should be provided and should be easy to reach on every page.
PSLWeb places a strong emphasis on designing usable websites with a focus on keeping things clear and simple.