The way in which usability is considered when your website is initially designed affects your site for its entire life cycle. When you look at the first mock up of your website and make decisions based on colours, graphics and images – begin to think about the user. It may not be your initial thought but it is certainly the most important one.
Take into consideration the ease with which a user can navigate and successfully follow the flow of the site to obtain the site’s and the user’s goal. If a user feels satisfied with their experience on your website, consider the value of the referrals and repeat business resulting from this.
To achieve this high-end user experience, you must clearly determine the goals of your website and convey these to your designer in a face to face meeting. Discuss what you want from the end-user, what you want for the end-user and how your designer plans to achieve this. This is extremely important and something that you do not want to lose in translation.
A good way to test the useability of your site while it is in the testing phase is to get some people in your organisation to go onto the test site. Ask them to give you feedback on how easy or hard it was to navigate around the site, what they thought the site was trying to convey and what it actually conveyed. This will give you a great insight into the potential user experience.
The long term development, training and support costs that may be involved in a poorly planned site are immeasurable. Save yourself and your business time and money and invest in a quality web design agency that understands a user’s needs and will offer you a planning process that balances great usability and cutting edge design.