Web Site Usability Checklist
by Janet Attard
Are prospective customers clicking away from your website without reading it, buying or calling you? Make your site more user-friendly and get more customers to take action by evaluating your web site against this usability checklist.
How much time do people spend on your website? Do they find the products or information you want them to find? Can they quickly find the information they want so they can either make a purchase or contact you about your services?
To be effective, your website must be easy for someone who knows nothing about your company, your products, or your website to use. A visitor must be able to find what they want in just a few seconds or they'll click away, and probably won't return.
To make sure your site is easy to use, try to look at it objectively, as though you were a stranger and answer the questions in the checklist below.
For all sites:
- Can visitors quickly (2 seconds or less) tell what you do when they land on your site?
- Can visitors find information and/or products easily?
- Is the navigation clear and consistent throughout the site?
- Does the back button always take them back to the preceding page?
- Do the pages load quickly?
- Can visitors easily find out who runs the site?
- Do you ask visitors to sign up for a newsletter or a special offer so you can acquire their email addresses and continue to communicate with them when they leave the site?
- Are the most important elements of your site visible without scrolling up and down or from side to side on laptop screens and typical desktop screens.
- Does the site look good when viewed with all the popular web browsers?
- Is the design responsive so it looks good on smart phones and tablets?
- Do you have alternate text tags under graphics (to allow visitors who are blind or who have graphics turned off to find important links)?
- Do you have a mechanism in place to allow people to add pages to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social networking sites?
- Do you have a prominent Contact Us link?
- Is your name, address and phone number on every page of the site?
- Do you have a way for visitors to contact you by email?
For ecommerce sites
- Can visitors quickly find products and product descriptions?
- Can they find price information?
- Are there links to related products (accessories to wear with a ladies suit, for instance)?
- Can they tell what to click on to place an order?
- Can they find the check out button when they are ready to pay for their order?
- Can they find your phone number from every page in case they have a question?
- Can they find shipping information and costs easily?
- Can they find your guarantee and return policy?
- Can they find information about the company and its management?
- Can they find any other important information you want them to have?
After you've done your own review of the website, ask some people who don't know much about your business to look at the website while you watch them. Look at the things they click on and how they proceed through the site. Note whether they seemed confused or unsure what to do next at any point. Make changes to the site both on the basis of your own answers to the checklist and any problems you detect when observing others viewing the site.
Copyright © 2016 Attard Communications, Inc.
May not be copied, reprinted, or reproduced without express permission from Attard Communications, Inc.
About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets. Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.