The term usability has replaced the phrase user – friendly. It is also commonly interchangeably used to refer to user experience design (UX design) but is now considered as a sub-category of user experience design.
Simply put, usability refers to the ease of access and/or use of a website or mobile app.
A design, by itself, cannot be classified as usable or unusable. It is the set of features, which resonates with the user as per his operating environment and the required output required by the user that determines its level of usability.
• Ease of use and navigation is the first priority. The user should be able to navigate through the interface at the first level of contact. An example can be a good grocery website or app. The user should be able to locate all items sequentially and book and order quickly.
• The users’ objective of using that particular app or website should be achieved seamlessly. If an app or website is well designed and structured properly, it will enable the user to have a satisfactory transaction.
• The memory recall of using the design should be as easy as the first time use. If a user revisits the site for subsequent transactions, the consistency in the output should be maintained.
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the most popular device for internet access. However, many websites are still not designed to being mobile-friendly. As the traffic from these devices in increasing on a daily basis, it is important fort websites to align to them if they wish to stay ahead of their game.
Internet users want the same experience as on a desktop on their mobiles. Web developers need to design the sites that can offer an enjoyable user experience on the mobile gadgets as well.
Here, we take a look at some strategic ways to enhance user experience.
Websites should be designed to be clear and concise. Access to information easily and quickly, without clutter, should be the main focus. Ona mobile, it is cumbersome to zoom into every element that is easily viewed on a desktop. This should be kept in mind while designing for mobile users to offer a superior user experience.
Mobile users normally visit websites when they intend to execute their goal, be it making a purchase or access key information. To make the transition smooth and get the desired output, and conversion for both user and provider, websites should be designed to offer them a direct call to action.
The website landing pages should be simple, clear and have the specific call-to-action buttons. For e.g., Buy now can be highlighted and boxed to garner attention.
A study shows that the minimum physical measurement of a touch target should be 1cm × 1cm (0.4in x 0.4in). (Publication:MobileHCI '06:) .
Websites need to keep in mind the ratio and proportion of font sizes vis a vis desktop sites. As the mobile screen is smaller, a balance has to be maintained so that users are not constantly zooming in.
As per typecasts proportional method, titles should be double the body font size and subheadings should be 1.625 times body font size.
Speed optimization is a must. Users want a super-fast and seamless experience. They do not like to wait for long for websites to load. Google also prefers fast-loading sites; hence they rank better in the search engine.
• Check whether the hosting server has the proper and adequate resources so that proper bandwidth and server speed is maintained at all times.
• Image and Content Optimization: Images can considerably impact loading times. So image selection, size and optimization is a must.
• Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a system that amalgamates the traffic that is otherwise scattered and reduces bandwidth load by speeding up the app. CDN also makes web pages available across various locations.
As is the case with speed, easy navigation creates a superlative User Experience. It’s like a road map that they can refer to allow them to find the information that they need quickly. Websites with poor navigation menus will tend to lose the interest of users.
A good website will incorporate a highly visible search bar, navigation bar, and key features of the website menu clearly. A sticky navigation bar can also be a useful feature.
Moreover, on desktops, there is enough space for the chrome elements such as the URL bar, back and forward buttons etc. . This should be properly adapted and the content –to chrome ratio for a mobile should be better so that more space is dedicated to content rather than for navigation on a smaller device.
Also, it is better to use bigger touch targets for navigational purpose.
Some key points to remember for good navigation:
• Adjust the content to chrome ratio
• Structure your navigation elements
• Use prominent touch targets
Responsive web designs will aid the turnaround of businesses. However, it is imperative to bear in mind that an M-friendly site should offer a great User Experience. The strategic points summed up again:
• Easy Mobile Navigation
• Focus on low page load time
• Optimize content to chrome rations
• Optimize Images
• Focus on improving the user experience for return visitors.
The Mobile does matter, so if you want to stay ahead of the business, it is necessary to get the UX right.