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Improving Your Website's Usability

Does it flow? Is it up to date? Can it be easily navigated?

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By Marty McGhie

If you stop to contemplate the significance of the Internet and the progress that technology has made, it can be mind boggling. Less than a decade ago, most companies in the industry didn’t even have websites. Now we find ourselves in this technology-crazed 21st century, utilizing websites daily as a primary means of doing business.

Because the World Wide Web is such an important part of our everyday business, we should all be paying rather close attention to our own websites. But all too often we don’t. I’ve put together a few tips this month to improve the effectiveness of your company’s website.

Review your website
You may believe that because you regularly log onto your website, you can ignore this important step. But, typically, as you review your website, you will only see what you are accustomed to viewing and won’t be able to see changes that should be made. For example, have you ever written something then proofread it two or three times-only to find that when someone else reads it, there is a mistake? Your brain is telling your eyes what it is supposed to see instead of what it really sees. This same phenomenon may occur if you sail through your website with just a cursory review.

As you review your website, examine it closely for the overall look of the site: Does it convey what you want the message to be? Observe the site’s layout: Does it flow from link to link, page to page, in an orderly and logical manner that’s not confusing or disjointed?

When you find a site that impresses you in the way that it flows and the message it delivers, go back to your own site to see if it has similar characteristics. Conversely, when you are surfing a site that irritates you for whatever reason, check your own website to ensure you don’t have the same issues. You should spend some objective time measuring the effectiveness of your website.