What To Do When The Internet Is Making Us Lazy: The Power of Usability

When researching for this blog, I learnt some interesting things about usability before actually reading any expert opinions. As sophisticated as my sifting methods were, I found myself disregarding blogs and websites based on the following common complaints.

Firstly, while I’m waiting for this page to load I could be finding something great, secondly, that article is a million pages of tiny text and thirdly, that website looks crap. Told you some seriously sophisticated powers of deduction were involved.

The truth is web visitors are a fickle bunch who spend their days flicking through the internet with a well practised finger tapping that mouse faster than the speed of light. It may take these people 10 minutes to get out of their chairs, find their glasses and scratch their backsides, but this is the internet.

The internet is a place where people will abandon a site for taking a nanosecond to load before spending an hour youtubing lonely island. Basically, where site loading time is concerned, people have their priorities straight.

In a nutshell, when someone lands on your site you have precisely a heartbeat to look good, look relevant and offer foolproof delivery. It’s something that our designers specialise in at Fluid, we never underestimate the attention span of the human race, so professional design and ease of use is always at the helm of our projects.

So, how do you convince your discerning visitors to land on your page and at least stay for coffee?

Be consistent

Carrying a theme throughout a website is the online equivalent of taking your visitor’s hand and reminding them that everything is peachy. Take a look at the Brand Neusense website we designed and built, we’ve kept the wallpaper and animated title banner constant throughout all pages and every product image shares the same size and layout.

We’re also big fans of ensuring the company logo is well placed and allows the reader to instantly link back to your homepage. Remember, the web brings out the laziness in us all, we suddenly lose the ability to read anything properly, wait for more than 0.132 of a second, or want to work out if we’re still on the original site we started with.

Keep> your> navigation> clear

Well designed sites should be like a walk around a small but perfectly formed village. Think search boxes for satisfying that insatiable need for speed, we don’t have to go searching for our goods through the warehouse at John Lewis do we? No, it’s all out on the shelves looking pretty.

Directing users to the juiciest content in the easiest way possible should stop a wandering eye and information such as ‘about us’ or ‘jobs’ is the type of content people will be willing to spend slightly more time looking for. Above all, good navigation is about making it easy. Pages ideally shouldn’t be cluttered with too many navigation options and including a constant ‘cookie crumb’ navigation map in the header or footer should round up any waifs and strays. Including internal links is also useful for pointing your readers in the right direction.

Beware the wrath of flash – in these here modern days Flash animation doesn’t work on iPhones and iPads, so a beautifully designed site reliant on animated graphics may be lost on your mobile visitors. Motion graphics are cool right? Of course they are! But in terms of a navigation perspective, many in the biz seem in agreement that animations and transition effects can be distracting, especially if they hold the user up. You may remember one of the web design trends we predicted for 2013 was that web design would go responsive and compatible, you have been warned!

Engaging content

I’ve certainly been guilty of reading a blog set out in tiny lists and thought what a lazy so and so the writer was, Show me 4,000 words of carefully crafted copy however? Whoa, what is this, the complete history of everything? Honestly, I’ve got work to do. I’m sure people have the same kind of internal copy thermostat. It’s really a precise science of including the content equivalent of something meaty, but not the whole cow.

It’s also important to give your content a quick metaphorical dusting on a weekly basis. Ensure links within your copy still have a home, otherwise you risk looking just like your trail, outdated.

Searching for that suitable website is a little like speed dating, if you smell and don’t brush your hair, people will pass you by. Let our team spruce up your online presence, we’re like the Gok Wans of the internet.

  • Written by on 11th February 2013 at 16:05
  • “Fluid Creativity is an award-winning, multi-service digital agency based in Manchester.”
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