The 9 essential rules of usability for a good website
Any professional will tell you. The aesthetic work done on a website is not enough. The web ergonomics is essential to obtain a good website.
Any professional worthy of the name will tell you. The aesthetic work done during the creation of a site is not enough even if its place is huge. It is necessary that your site adapts to your users so that they can use it easily and wish to return to it.
However, satisfying your users is a difficult challenge.
So how can I make sure that users find my site practical and readable? By respecting the main rules of web ergonomics.
What is the ergonomics of a website ?
Every day, you use everyday objects that have been designed “normally” to make your life easier (except for medicine leaflets … and I can see the smiles coming). Ergonomics has for mission to adapt these objects to human beings to make your life easier.
With the development of new technologies, this discipline had to adapt to the web. Thus, when designing a site, it is essential to facilitate the interaction between man and the interface as much for the owner of the site who will administer it as for the users (Internet users) who will consult it.
The success of a website is therefore related to the following three main elements of web ergonomics:
The usefulness of a site: knowing how to make the contents of a site interesting
The first axis that allows us to say that a website optimizes the user experience is its usefulness, i.e. its capacity to help the human activity for which it was designed.
To meet this first condition, it is necessary to determine the expectations and needs of future visitors in their entirety but also in terms of micro-features. Indeed, these are the ones that will trigger the decision making process.
A useful site thus allows to answer a need. Nevertheless, usefulness alone is not enough to say that a site is ergonomically optimized. Once your user enters your site, it is necessary that he stays there and enjoys it: usability.
Usability of the site: knowing how to make a site easy to access and especially easy to use
The ISO 9241 standard defines usability as follows: A product is said to be usable when it can be used with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction
- The website must be effective
The user must be able to perform the action for which he/she entered the website in a simple way
- The website must be efficient
The user must be able to perform his actions quickly and intuitively with the least amount of errors (or a great ease to correct them).
- The website must provide satisfaction
A website must be at the service of its users and not respond to a personal ego. The users must be satisfied once their action is completed and successful.
The web ergonomics must not be neglected in the realization of an internet project. Indeed, by placing the experience of your users at the heart of everything, you increase your chances that they appreciate it, come back more often and talk about it around them.
By taking into account the previous points, investing in such a website will be more profitable because it will allow you to reach your objectives more easily (increase in sales, registrations, visits, etc.)
The graphic design
As they say “if you can combine business with pleasure”. A beautiful site will remain more easily anchored in the memory, if you quickly find what you are looking for … it will be only happiness.
You want to know more about the success of your web project? We invite you to read our article that explains how to prepare the creation of your website.
What should the ergonomics of a website respect ?
The most important advice we can give you is without a doubt to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors when you design your website. It is for them that you create it. With this in mind, it will be easier for you to apply the following rules and propose a site that reassures your visitors and inspires confidence.
1/ A clear, simple and precise home page:
This is the page that will often have the highest traffic. It is therefore essential that visitors immediately want to know more.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not the beauty of your design, which after all is very subjective, that will push your visitors to action. No, they will not marvel at it. They are looking to perform an action or find information, that’s all.
Your first goal will be to make their lives easier: keep it simple. Of course, all your pages should also respect this rule because your visitors can access your site from any page.
2/ Readable texts:
Reading a text on a computer quickly tires the eyes so it is advisable to avoid text columns that are too wide or too thin, illegible or too exotic fonts, texts on a gray background …
- black text on a white background
- a standard font size (no microscopic or macroscopic font)
- a classic font
- underlining of links only
- page plans divided into paragraphs with headings, subheadings
3/ No gimmicks:
Avoid as much as possible animations and other useless gadgets on the site. Apart from the fact that they slow down the loading time of the site, they tire the eyes enormously and above all, exasperate the visitors who spend their time having to close them or juggle between them to read the rest of the page.
4/ A fast display:
Internet users are people in a hurry as a rule (and I know what I’m talking about). If you don’t want your visitor to leave as quickly as he entered, reduce the weight of your pages.
5/ A readable page layout:
Each page should have a title and be airy with a nice layout. Use sub-headings, short and concise paragraphs. Allow your visitors to find their way around easily.
6/ Accessible and intuitive menus:
Do not expect your visitors to spend more than 10 seconds trying to understand how your site works. Your menu must be clear and accessible at first glance.
7/ A visual hierarchy of elements:
In order to catch the eye of your visitors, it will be necessary to play on the contrasts of the most important zones of your site. But be careful not to overdo it and risk making them dizzy. A good exercise to check if your contrast is good: slightly blur your page with Photoshop for example. Where do you want to focus your attention?
8/ Access in 3 clicks:
Even if this rule can be nuanced (the important thing is the speed of access to the information sought and the fluidity with which it is accessed), keeping this rule in mind greatly improves navigation. Beyond that, Internet users can assimilate your site to something confusing and impractical.
9/ Optimized access on different media:
At a time when more than half of all browsing is done on a mobile device, your site must offer an optimal experience on each of these media. To do this, the responsive design will automatically vary the display mode of the pages according to the size of the screen.
As you can see, a good website cannot be summarized in a simple visual.
It requires an upstream study of its ergonomics that will allow your visitors to want to enter, to evolve easily and to quickly find the information they are looking for. That’s what you want, right?