The Four ‘E’s of Website Usability

One of the most important aspects of a website is it’s usability and whether the person on it can easily use it and complete the tasks they set out to do. Therefore, to ensure your website has great usability this blog is going to summarise some key points to help you achieve this, with the rather nice acronym of the Four ‘E’s of Usability.

Effective

The first element of usability is the completeness and accuracy that a user can achieve their goal when on the website. Therefore, was the users intended goal met and how well was the overall task done. This will provide an indication on how effective the website was and whether the user was able to undertake what they set out to achieve.

To ensure that they are able to do this the website must have a clear user interface, effective navigational features, and a creative design that displays the calls to action well.

For instance, if you are purchasing a product off Amazon, the main goal here is whether you can go from finding your product all the way through to actually purchasing it. If the site is effective then this can be achieved without a problem.

Efficient

Whereas the effectiveness of a site is whether you can complete the task, the efficiency of the site is the speed at which it is done. No one wants to have to search around a website for ages to find what they want or get lost on the site. As a result having good links, toolbar tabs, shortcuts and a site map will ensure the user can undertake the necessary action in a quick manner without any effort.

In our Amazon example, if the ‘Add to Basket’ button can’t be seen or is hard to find the users process of purchasing the product will be much slower and less efficient.

Engaging/Entertaining

The third feature of usability is the actual aesthetics and visual design of the website. Here we are talking about the websites colouring, imaginary, graphics, font, text, styles and multimedia. These elements have to engage the user of the site if they are going to remain on it, otherwise they will go elsewhere!

Multimedia is a very effective way to attract and retain users on a website as it’s extremely eye catching. Also not having too much text is essential to keep users on the site, as you don’t really want to be faced with an entire books worth of words!

Amazon has plenty of images of products that draws you in to clicking on them, and with its nice easy-going colour and appearance it’s definitely a site you won’t leave in a hurry.

Easy to Learn

The final element of usability is that the website must be easy to learn so when the user is on it they can easily navigate their way round and even when they come back again they still know how to use it. The users mustn’t have to remember how to get from one page to the other, like placing breadcrumbs down to remember how to get somewhere! In a time where quick purchasing and information are vital, a simple design is what a user wants to face and not have to study a website on how to use it.

Therefore, a website must have consistent text, links, designs, tabs and appearance so the user doesn’t get confused. Also it should have features to help them should they have a problem such as a ‘Help’ or ‘FAQ’ page. But also if new features or designs are implemented the user should be given some kind of indication on how to use them so they can familiarise themselves.

Amazon’s pages are all designed in a similar manner with the same features, tabs, links, colouring and overall appearance on them. The users as a result know what to expect and can learn how to use the website.

So there we have it, there’s a quick overview of the four main elements of website usability. If you follow these simple points your website will be a great success!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

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2 thoughts on “The Four ‘E’s of Website Usability

  1. As long as the design is entertaining for users they are less likely to bounce off your website and you can then focus on the task accomplishment and if you are good at it users will really like your approach no need to go too much fancy just getting done what is wanted will build your reputation.

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