Usability (also: user-friendliness) is a quality characteristic (also used as a KPI ) – this evaluates how easy a user interface or also a website is to use for users. Particular emphasis is placed on design and usability.
“The user comes first, everything else follows by itself,” Google writes in the first of ten principles of its corporate philosophy.
This guideline is not only valid for own projects, but especially for website operators.
Usability is best for users when they can easily find their way around software or a website. In most cases, poor usability is expressed by a user being frustrated and disoriented on the site or even leaving it immediately.
Good to know: Especially in purchase processes (e.g. in shops) usability plays a major role. If this process is not easy or if the user does not understand the process, the purchase process is terminated prematurely.
Usability is characterized by the following:
- Through the effectiveness the user finds his target.
- Efficiency ensures that this happens as quickly as possible
- Satisfaction is the result, as users get through the process without disruption.
Factors that search engines evaluate include keywords, links, and website structure. Linking patterns, user signals, and machine learning give search engines additional data about a page.
User-friendliness and user experience do have an impact on ranking success – but only secondarily.
Why usability is important
Whether you run an online store or offer services, good usability makes for more sales / better rankings. If users have fewer obstacles to overcome on the way to a product or in search of a service, they are more likely to retain a good impression of the site.
They are also much more likely to use the service again on the same site if everything went smoothly for the most part on the first visit. If usability is poor, on the other hand, the opposite is more likely: no sale/no booking and no coming back.
Nowadays, users have much higher expectations of a website because the range of offers is more extensive and there are many more opportunities for comparison. If users don’t get what they want right away, they’ll quickly end up with the competition (even though they may rank below you).
In addition, poor usability often results in increased service overhead: more users call or email to get information they can’t find on the website. This increased effort in support can in turn have disadvantages for the other tasks of the employees in this department.
How to achieve high website usability
A large number of criteria, some of them completely different, contribute to usability. Only if you know these and know how to optimize them, your website can be successful in the long run.
These factors play an important role:
- A good first impression: within seconds, visitors decide whether your site looks decent, exciting or expansive. The important thing is that users immediately recognize what your site offers.
- Efficiency: How quickly can users get things done if they already know the page?
- High recognition value (UI / UX design ): How well do users find their way around the website when they visit it again?
- Mistakes: What happens when mistakes happen? How can mistakes be avoided in the future?
- Loading time: If the page takes too long to load, many users are inclined to leave it again quickly.
- Satisfaction: The website should invite you to visit again!
- Content: It is crucial how appealingly you present the content, how clearly and user-friendly you prepare it.
- Accessibility: How well can people with physical disabilities use the website?
Usabilty vs SEO
However, these factors create conflicts. For example, image-rich pages pose a problem from an SEO standpoint because Google works primarily text-based. Despite alt tags and meta descriptions, headings and SEO-relevant body text are still essential in terms of SEO.
As Google is completely dedicated to user experience, the corporation continues to improve its algorithm. Thus, he no longer falls for SEO tricks so easily. The targeted use of keywords in headlines and text can be a positive benefit for users, as they can quickly grasp and evaluate content.
A clear structure and clearly presented information rewards Google. You can assume that Google on its own will capture patterns that harm usability and rate them negatively. These include, for example, too small a font, too much and disturbingly placed advertising in the website content or display errors.
Because Google evaluates the content on websites and rates it as an important ranking factor, there are only winners: High-quality content satisfies users and Google.
Since users will notice poor usability in any case, you should consider the web usability factors presented above. With them you can see exactly where the problems of your site are and why users are dissatisfied and you can optimize specifically and thus satisfy the visitors. Ultimately, good web usability should make it easier for users to visit a site or use an offer, increase the success of your site, and generate more conversions for the company.
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