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Usability PDF Print

A usable Web site means that users can easily read your online information. The other side to usability is that it can increase your search engine rankings so more people can find your Web site.
Here are some ways you can take a fresh look at your website every day to ensure maximum usability:

1. Content and Readability

Make content easy to scan. Format your content so that it's easy to scan. Emphasize important points (or product characteristics) using headlines, bullets, lists and frequent paragraph breaks.

Place important content close to the top of the page. Check your page display at in a number of different screen resolutions to make sure that your most important content is visible when the page loads.

Add ALT and TITLE Attributes to all images. Each image should have a descriptive ALT attribute (to allow visitors who are blind or who have graphics turned off to find important links) and TITLE attribute associated with it.

URLs are meaningful and user-friendly. Meaningful keyword-based URLs are generally good for both visitors and search engines. Get new URLs and make them descriptive and friendly.

The page name is often the largest text on the page which clearly emphasizes its importance. Visually, the name of a page should appear to be framing the content unique to that page, prominently placed and styled to show that it is indeed the page heading.

2. Site Identity

Can your visitors tell immediately "What do you do" and "Why should I trust you" while visiting your site? A strong brand creates or reinforces a user's impression of the site. The following list can help you create your web site identity:

Company logo prominently placed. Put your logo or brand where it's easy to find, usually it is the upper-left corner of the screen. It’s also very important that the logo links back to the home page.

Tagline. Taglines are a great way to explain the purpose of a site to a user quickly. It’s just a small text shown right next to the site logo, usually no more than a few words. Taglines are not mottos which describe motivation or intention, but instead descriptions that convey the point of something.

About us page. Your “About us” page gives you an opportunity to persuade new visitors to stick around. "About us" is important on the web and people need an easy way to learn more about you.

Contact information. Similarly, visitors want to know that they can get in touch with you if they need to. It's also hard to do business if no one can contact you. Preferably, list your contact information as text (not in an image) - it'll get picked up by search engines, including local searches.

Online help and user guidelines. Design your site so that it requires minimal help and instructions and if needed, they are easily accessible.