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  1. #1
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    What is a Usable WebSite?

    What is your definition? Mine is:
    A usable site expands learning and the ability to remember what has been learned, reduces errors, leads to more effective and efficient users, and wholly improves their satisfaction.

  2. #2
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    "usable website"

    A clear, clean site (not cluttered looking).

    Global navigation (easy to get anywhere within 2 clicks).

    Correct and useful information on its subject.

    Giving the visitor a reason for being there and return to another time.

  3. #3
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Those are good points! Has anyone anything else to add, I would think this was a serious issue for most developers/designers.

  4. #4
    Gong!
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    Adjustable font-size. There are a lot of people who have difficulties to see that tiny 8px sized text on bigger resolutions.
    HighCheats - game cheats, codes, tips and tricks for PC and various console platforms

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    1. The user can use it
    2. The user doesn't go away with any negative thoughts or perceptions
    3. The user is comfortable telling friends about it

    Inside those three points there are hundreds (if not thousands) of things to consider... Too early, too many to list
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast AppleCider's Avatar
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    Clear navigation: Cryptic icons and fancy remote rollovers confuse users.

    Readable fonts and colors. Tiny red text on a black background challenges even those with good eyesight.

    Attention to detail. If you misplace or forget to add a page/section in your navigation, the user will become frustrated.

    Remember not everyone uses IE 6 or uses Windows. 'Nuff said.

    Follow current standards, but don't fall for all the latest neato gizmos. Introduce bells and whistles carefully, only after you have the basics down.

    Remember the user is king (or queen). They'll go where they want, when they want. Don't try to force their browsing behaviors; you can't win.

    Don't design your site so it's limited only to the latest and greatest. Not everyone has broadband, or a 21 inch monitor. (Anyone remember the Pepsi site whose opening page was a long list of what was "needed" even to enter their site?)

    Put important news on your opening page. If it's important, don't make the user click on another link. They may not bother.

    Lots more to be said, but that's what came to mind instantly. Great topic, BTW!
    You might as well fall flat on your
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  7. #7
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    My definition is pretty simple:

    A usuable website is website where the visitors will find what's he's looking for.
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Well, when I think of usability I think of many, many points. It's a big topic that incompasses many different things (for me at least):

    accessibility - usable sites are usable by everyone,
    compadability - varyation on above theme,
    information acrhitecture - information must be properly labled and constructed so that visitors can use it,
    and even how intresting the content is - despite a comman misconception, usable web sites shouldn't be borring -- you can't find what your looking for if you arn't willing to read it,
    etc.

    I think your right, Nicky (even though I think that's a defination Neilison (sp?) first wrote...somewhere). But, I also think everyone else made good points, too.

    JMulder has the simplest, accurate defination of usability I've seen. But i'd also like to add that a usable web site will also aid the visitors in honing what exactly thier looking for, too.

    ~~ That's my 2

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot Megs's Avatar
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    I like that definition. For me it's really very simple - there are a lot of specific methods there but overall (to me) it just means that the user can get what they're looking for easily and feels comfortable on the site.
    Megan Jack
    Proud to be Canadian
    http://www.meganjack.com
    Moderator at The Webmaster Forums and EDevCafe Forums

  10. #10
    What? Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Everything mentioned is correct of course. But a couple of things I always look for in web sites

    Consistency - usig similar looking pages throughout the whole layout.

    Theme - that word doesn't quite fit so I am going to explain. If you have a business site or a professional sit make it look that way. To much pizazz is 'not' a good thing. Professional sites that are gaudy are just that bad. If you are running a fun site with a huge spectrum of visitors than have some fun.

    Hope I explained that well.
    Maelstrom Personal - Apparition Visions
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    They made me a sitepoint Mentor - Feel free to PM me or Email me and I will see if I can help.

  11. #11
    Pixels Matter! Jimknee's Avatar
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    A usable site facilitates research and learning by clearly presenting valuable information in categories that are logical and consistent.


  12. #12
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Jimknee
    A usable site facilitates research and learning by clearly presenting valuable information in categories that are logical and consistent.

    Does that mean an entertaining, fun website can't be usable?

  13. #13
    Pixels Matter! Jimknee's Avatar
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    Well, I could widen the definition:

    "A usable site clearly presents valuable information in categories that are logical and consistent."

    Jokes, music, cartoons would be considered 'valuable information' if one is searching for them.

    And I suppose the idea of categories is implied by the words 'logical' and 'consistent'. So it could read:

    "A usable site clearly presents valuable information logically and consistently."


  14. #14
    Tenacious T Tyhe's Avatar
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    I would say: a website that is being used...

    Usability is in the eye of the beholder

    Greetz.
    That's all folks...

  15. #15
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I disagree, usability is NOT in the eye of the beholder. There are definte methods and testing procedures to determine levels of usability.

  16. #16
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with you as well, often when I make a website I ask myself questions like: "Why would people come here?" And with that answer I ask myself "Can they find that in one glance?"

    Small things like that will increase your usability. On the other hand, it maybe is in the eye of the beholder, but then it's an error on his side and not on the side of the builder. I wouldn't go to a Netscape site if I only surf with Internet Explorer now would I? No, so I would find such a site pretty unusable but a Netscapeuser DOES find it usefull because it's relevant for him.

    EDIT: Fixing a typo
    Last edited by JMulder; Oct 26, 2001 at 09:30.
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  17. #17
    Fine Tuned silver trophy KC's Avatar
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    A usable site is one that holds the user's interest for more than 1 minute, is recognizable by search engines, and has the ability to make a user want to return again. Without the very simplest of elements, a user is not a user anymore, regardless of their preference for layout, content and design.
    Former Design Your Site Team Leader

  18. #18
    SitePoint Addict Drinky's Avatar
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    A usable website enables the user to get from it what they came for with the minimum of complications.

    If the site is un usable you'll probably find yourself fighting with it at some point. If it is usable you probably won't notice.

    You can find all of the pages on your site because you
    put them there, will I be able to?

    You can add to the usable nature of your website by making any 'special features', unique to your site intuitive and leading, so I don't waste my time working out how to work your site before I can use it.

    If your site has complex/unique features, provide help, but make that help optional by making the solution intuitive.

    Usability is actually in the mind of both the beholder and the designer, the problem is that you need to get both people on the same page.
    Drinky

  19. #19
    How Much Money?
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    My point

    i would just like to add my point,
    to have a site in a percentage width table center alogned has
    been the best thing i have evr done. The site is now easy to read
    across all browsers and all screen resolutions. I would also add
    to nyone who uses dreamweaver, DO NOT USE LAYERS. Layers
    are the most horrid things that macromedia has ever come out
    with. the atre not browser freindly unless you have IE5 and completely
    mong up your page if you are in netscape1 !

    That is just my vew though

    Matthew taylor

  20. #20
    What? Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Re: My point

    Originally posted by Mail-Benefit.com
    i would just like to add my point,
    to have a site in a percentage width table center alogned has
    been the best thing i have evr done. The site is now easy to read
    across all browsers and all screen resolutions. I would also add
    to nyone who uses dreamweaver, DO NOT USE LAYERS. Layers
    are the most horrid things that macromedia has ever come out
    with. the atre not browser freindly unless you have IE5 and completely
    mong up your page if you are in netscape1 !

    That is just my vew though

    Matthew taylor
    Why do you have to have dreamweaver to us layers. I use layers all the time and I definately don't use dreamweaver to set the up. I may move them around the screen but I don't create them with dreamweaver.

    People still use netscape 1...wow...I didn't think it was possible.
    Maelstrom Personal - Apparition Visions
    Development - PhP || Mysql || Zend || Devshed
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    They made me a sitepoint Mentor - Feel free to PM me or Email me and I will see if I can help.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Member Slash's Avatar
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    Well nice I just read many nice optinions and comments about usable web sites .
    First, you all have to learn what is usability, then tend to learn how to implement it in your site in order to create a usable web site.
    Well talking is easy, but the harder is the actions. Usability is the greatest path I ever tested in my web design/developing and architecting career.

    Usable website is the utmost goal to acheive for people like us - ecommerce industry.

    A point to start with : goto
    useit.com

    Enjoy!
    We owe a lot to Thomas Edison -- if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight. - Milton Berle

  22. #22
    Not a post-script error?!! guysmy's Avatar
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    I've been on more than a few shall we say arty sites. Sometimes these sites make navigation unclear. They add this untangible element of mysterium. You navigate a bit blindly and get inspired by all the narley gimmicks they set out for you.

    Good for a creative fix -HOWEVER-

    For the most part, I like an easy to understand navigation menu. Clear type and universal symbols. ESPECIALLY with an eCommerce site.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Member
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    audience - led

    isn't usability the fact that you allow your audience quickly and intuitively find the content they want. Therefore, loads of Flash *IS* usable - may be not accessible - because it's right for it's target audience.

    BTW: what do people think are the most 'usable' sites out there? and why? anyone else agree with me about Flash?

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Usability and accessability go hand in hand. If large groups of people can't access your site it isn't usable in general, even though it may be usable to a certain segment of the population.

    It's like saying "my store is usable", even though it doesn't have a ramp for wheel-chair accessibility. In order to be truly usable, it needs to be truly accessible.

    As such, any technology, design or UI which inhibits users from accessing your site and the information they are seeking is by definition contrary to usability.

    My .02
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright

  25. #25
    SitePoint Member
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    do you think that Flash is inherently unusable, because it can't be read by a screen reader?

    I mean, something like www.superbad.com is pretty inaccessible, even though it's not Flash - but that's because it's entirely a visual experience, so there's nothing for a screen reader to interpret.

    That's surely because, for art sites, the medium IS the message. For most e-commerce sites, the medium should be unobtrusive, cross-browser and accessible in order to get the customer to the message.


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