What is Usability?

You will hear me talk about usability a lot on this blog…and everywhere else.  We have a passion for usability, and yet this very important aspect of web design is often overlooked not only by clients, but also by many web designers and developers.  In this, the first post of a two-part series, we will explain what usability is, and why it is important to you as you look to create a new website for your business.

Simply put, usability is how usable, or user friendly, a website is.  The average web user only notices usability when it is lacking.  We’re sure you can think of a time when you had a specific goal when visiting a website and, no matter what you did, you couldn’t accomplish that goal.  Maybe you couldn’t find a phone number for customer support, or see how to delete a product from your shopping cart, or even just how to get back to the site’s home page.  More than likely, the experience made you feel stupid, frustrated, or maybe even angry.  No matter what you felt, it wasn’t your fault you had a bad experience on the site – it was the sites!

When usability is done right, you leave a site feeling satisfied with what you have accomplished and with the company whose website you were on.  You are far more likely to spend more time on that site, come back often, and even allow yourself to become better acquainted with the company and most importantly, give them more money!

At Cornerstone Media Group, we strive to use every usability methodology to ensure that each site we create is as user friendly as possible.  This includes being aware of current findings in the field of usability, putting ourselves in the shoes of your website’s users to better understand what they will be expecting, and even spending time with your users to learn directly from them how they react to your site.  This results in a far more successful website for you and your customer.

Come back for part two in this series, in which I’ll discuss why you should invest in a website that is user centered, despite what may be perceived as drawbacks to this approach.

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