1) Usability testing doesn’t have to be a huge task. Having five users test your site will catch most of the problems on your website before launch. The biggest issues are usually caught by the first one or two users and the rest of the users will usually confirm their findings. Any testing is better than none.
3) Modern Eye-tracking software has discovered a variety of useful information related to usability issues. For example, users tend to focus on faces and eyes when viewing a website, but if a face is looking in the direction of your content we will follow its gaze. This is an effective tool to drive users to information on your site.
4) First impressions count. Quality of design is a huge factor in establishing credibility. While content is king, packaging that content in a nice wrapper can give that content more credibility than it would have on its own and allow you to make certain pieces of information more prominent than others.
5) Most users still don’t scroll down a homepage, so make sure the most important content is “above the fold” which currently is around 768 pixels high. Some important content to include in this area are: the name of the website, benefits of the website, and the navigation elements relevant to the user.
6) Separating product pages from marketing pages helps you stand out. This allows each page to achieve its task efficiently. The marketing pages sell to the user while the detailed information pages provide additional information letting the user compare products. Provide detailed information on your products, but make sure you the information is easy to digest. Don’t use jargon your users aren’t likely to understand.
7) Most users will avoid anything that looks like an advertisement. Make sure your important content doesn’t look like an ad, because most users will treat it like one. The reverse applies too, people will click on ads that look like content, but this usually results in short-term revenue instead of long-term trust.
8) Forms are useful for communicating and collecting information from your users, but forms should be carefully designed for ease of use. Most forms are vertically oriented and read from top to bottom, so labels should generally be above the fields and left aligned. Try to keep the required fields to a minimum and if you must require certain fields, validating that information on the fly can be very helpful. Most users find it annoying to fill out a form and have to go back and change information after an unsuccessful submission.
9) Icons aren’t as important as you think, in recent studies it was found that initial performance on a link is best with text alone, but frequent users can use either equally effectively. Icons are not faster relative to text links alone, but if you’re going to use icons make them as large as possible and collected into a taskbar area in a horizontal layout for to make them most usable. This is because users have to discover what the icon means on their first visit, while text links tell the user what the link is immediately.
10) According to recent studies an ideal search box is 27 characters wide. Making your search box 27 characters wide, much like Google’s search box, will accommodate 90% of user’s searches. This can be highly important depending on how much information is on your site. If you have clear and concise navigation, it is more useful than a search box, but if a user can’t find the information they are looking for in the first few seconds, the search box will become their primary navigation.