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Website Design Tips: Usability

The past two blog posts have discussed tips for creating a website design strategy and layout, but for a website to be truly valuable, it must be easy to use. The following tips will help to ensure your website is useful to site visitors and functions properly.

Shrink it Down - Avoid bogging down your website with large files or graphics. Site visitors will get annoyed if a web page takes too long to load, and many will leave the site. Also, keep in mind that your website will be viewed at various screen resolutions. Make sure that your site is visually appealing at different resolutions and that key information is visible above the fold (user does not have to scroll down to view content).

Make it Easy to Navigate - Navigation menus and links should be prominently and consistently located in the same place on every page. Links should be well organized within the navigation menu so that users can easily locate information and navigate between pages. Site maps and search capabilities will also benefit your web visitors.

Follow Accessibility Guidelines - Basic guidelines include: title tags for each web page, proper heading tags for content, descriptive anchor text for links instead of phrases like "click here," and alt tags that briefly describe images. These standards make your site accessible to people with disabilities and optimize the site for search engines.

Test, Test, & Test Again - Throughout the design process, test usability by gathering input from members of your organization as well as your audience. After each testing cycle, make any necessary changes and then test again. Remember to test in multiple web browsers, as different browsers may affect the functionality of your web pages.


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