Discover the Golden Rule of Web Usability

When I first started learning about creating websites that get results, I asked a colleague for advice about courses I should do and books I should read.  Luckily for me, he recommended reading a book that completely changed how I look at websites.  I’ve since recommended it to many many people and they all feel the same.

If you’re interested in learning about Web Usability, and you haven’t already read it, get a copy of “Don’t Make Me Think; A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug.

The book is about web design but anyone involved in setting up a website will find it valuable.

The basic principle is simple.  When I look at your website, don’t make me think about how I should use it or what I should do, make it clear and obvious.

If your website is easy to use, your web visitors will spend more time reading it and clicking on links, and if they had a pleasant experience they are more likely to repeat their visit.

Some examples that are included in the book are:

  • Say what you mean in clear, simple terms. If you’re linking to a list of jobs, call it “jobs”, rather than “employment opportunities”
  • Make links look like they can be clicked on. Don’t make me think about whether or not I should try to click on it.

In my article on How Many Skills Does It Take to Make a Website I mentioned Common Sense having an important role in your new website.

Common Sense plays a huge part in making your website usable.
  • Plan your website carefully
  • Be logical and sensible
  • Seek advice from people with suitable skills and qualifications
  • Get input from others along the way (particularly those in your target audience) – Ask if there is anything about the design or copy that makes them think
  • Test your website to make sure everything works
  • Once it’s up and running, monitor the results so that you can continually improve
  • And never sign a contract with a web professional until you’re sure about what they are doing and why, and what is, and isn’t included in the price.

Grab a copy of Steve Krug’s book today, and every time you look at a new website, think about whether or not it makes you think.  The things that make you think probably make other people think too.  They are the things you should avoid on your own website.

What do you think?


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