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Website usability guidelines – standard website’s content

 

Are you thinking about having your own website? In this serie of guidelines we will give you an overview of all the essentials when setting up a new website.

First we’ll guide you trough the standerd website’s content.

Pages

This may sound obvious: every website should have a homepage. Explain there who you are and what you do, but keep it short and simple. This page should be easy and quickly digestible. It’s a good idea to include a one sentence tagline.

Put only necessary data and tools on the particular page. Make sure that the page is not overwhelming. The goal of each page should be clear for your page visitors.

Try to avoid using elements that look like an advertisement or may somehow mislead your visitors - this will only annoy your users.

Compare the examples below to better understand what we mean:

Nicely designed homepageOverwhelming website

‘About us’ and ‘Contact us’

The ‘About us’ section should explain who you are and give your users an overview about the company and links to relevant details about your products, services, company values, business proposition, management team, and so on.

The ‘Contact us’ section should include all contact information (such as a phone number, email adress, mailing address, opening hours…).

Both should be easily accessible – these links can be placed in the header or the footer. So they are accessible from every subpage by just one click.

Company logo

Place the company name and/or logo in a reasonable size on a noticeable location. Make sure that clicking on the logo redirects the user to the homepage. You can also consider customizing your favicon. This will make your page look good on a tab bar.

Styles and Titles

Styles should be used in a consistent way. Headers, paragraphs etc. should be clearly distinguishable within the site.image

Use meaningful titles, by adding keywords and avoiding linking words. The <Title> tag content is presented in the search results and the tab description in the browser, so you should avoid starting it with “Welcome to our…”. The <H1> title is visible on the page and its content should correspond with the <Title>. Below you can find an example of meaningful and meaningless titles:

image

image

Search

The search bar is available on almost every page. But there are some rules that should be applied. The search field should be placed in a clearly visible place (usually the top right corner). There should be a search button or an icon placed next to it to trigger search engine. Besides that, the search should be triggered by the Enter keyboard button – that is very handy for your users. The input field itself shouldn’t be too wide cause then users tend to search for whole sentences instead of keywords, what can result in less relevant results. A field box size of 27 characters would accommodate 90% of the queries.

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As the initial search should be straightforward and simple – it should be possible to narrow search results using filters, facets, etc.image

imageWhat about the search results? First of all, results page should indicate what was searched and it should be easy to edit and resubmit the search. The results page should present results in clear blocks, with a teaser of the article that it points to, where the link will lead user, what kind of result it is, etc.

 

Error pagesclip_image014

Avoid presenting the technical details of an error. This is considered as a website’s vulnerability and might be used by hackers to attack. The error page should be customized and helpful. Inform your user about problem but also lead him to a solution.

 

Read also: our usability guidelines about  forms and navigation

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Op 14/06/2015 door Lukasz

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