Posted on Dec 12, 2017

How to Build Usability into Your New Website

Creating a blog or website has never been easier. These days, all you need is some spare time and perhaps a little bit of money to establish an online presence for yourself or your business.

But that’s only part of the story. Even if you use a website builder and don’t write a line of code, there are still several considerations you must make to ensure your website provides an enjoyable experience for your visitors.

Content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and web design are all extremely important when planning and creating a website, and they get talked about quite a bit. However, there is another important topic that you need to consider when creating a blog or e-commerce website: website usability.

What is website usability?

Web usability is also often referred to under the rubric of user experience (UX). User experience covers all the things that make a website, app or product easy and intuitive for people to utilize. defines UX as “having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project.”

Any good marketing plan takes into account the needs of your audience or customers. In a similar vein, good UX means that you should design your website with your audience in mind.

Web usability also takes into account technical factors which can hamper people from using your website. The loading times of pages, navigation elements and even the ease which your content can be read are all important factors when measuring the usability of your website.

Why is web usability important?

Consider this question: when you create a website, are you creating it for yourself or for other people?

While your first thoughts may focus on your reasons for creating a website — “I’m creating it so I have a platform for my writing,” or “I’m setting up a site to sell my products” — the fact is that ultimately you are creating it for other people.

If nobody reads your blog, then what’s the point of creating a platform to showcase your business, or to share your writing? If visitors can’t figure out how to navigate pages or add items to a shopping cart, then your products won’t sell.

Creating a website with usability in mind allows you to ensure that the people who visit your website won’t have a hard time reading your articles or purchasing your products and services.

How to measure your website’s usability

The art and science of UX has come a long way since the early days of the Web. Yet still, creating the perfect user experience isn’t always as straightforward or clear as you may think, even for UX experts.

This element of uncertainty is most likely due to the fact that the audience and market for each website can be a little different. While there are some best practices to follow, creating the best experience possible for your niche means you need to understand their expectations, and limitations, and design your site based around their particular needs.

Thankfully, the Internet era has brought about opportunities like never before for scientifically measuring how your site’s visitors interact with it. That means, even if you don’t get UX exactly right the first time, you have the ability to constantly track website activity, measure against your goals, and make the changes to improve it.


Using tools like Google Analytics allow you to understand where your users may be running into problems. For instance, having a high bounce rate may mean that your content isn’t useful to the people visiting your site.

web analytics

image: Pixabay


You can also use web analytics to understand the chain of pages that lead your visitors to the checkout page of your e-commerce site. It can also help you identify where in that chain problems may arise that are leading them to abandon their shopping carts.

Aside from usability problems, web analytics can also help you refine your UX to make your site is even more easy and intuitive to use.


Heatmaps are a form of analytics that track the areas on your web page where users move and click the cursors on their screen. They provide a visual representation of the most common (the “hottest”) places for clicks.

These graphic representations can allow you to easily see where your page navigation may be failing, or help you improve it by making changes based on the actual behavior of your visitors.

User Surveys

User feedback is probably the oldest way to understand how to fix or improve your website’s usability.

You’ve probably already seen pop-ups asking for your opinion on some of the sites you use. You can use this same tactic on your own site to gather usability feedback in a short survey.

user feedback

image: Pixabay


While you’ll want to take the time to craft your questions so they will give you the insight you need, you don’t need to spend time creating your own online form. Online services abound for help creating and recording the answers to surveys.

One of the most recognizable of these is SurveyMonkey, They offer a range of free and paid tools to help you delve as deep as possible into gathering user information on your website.

Google Forms is also a free and relatively easy way to create a surveys that will give you a good amount of control over both the survey design and that data, but may take a little extra work.

Sometimes you need to take this feedback with a grain of salt: the most vocal users don’t always represent the feelings of the majority of your users. But paying attention to the gripes of your visitors will still give you a good indication where to focus your efforts.


How to improve the usability of your website

While being able to analyze the success of your website’s goals and track how people use it is one of the greatest boons of the age of digital marketing, the knowledge you gain won’t mean much if you don’t put it to use.

The best way to improve the usability of your website is to begin on a solid foundation. That means implementing the basics of creating a usable website that UX experts have gleaned over the years.

One of the key areas of baking usability into your website from the beginning is to understand and follow responsive web design.

Responsive web design

Responsive web design in its simplest terms means that your website remains usable regardless of where it’s viewed. If you’ve ever viewed a website on a mobile phone, you’ve already had some experience as a user with this concept.

website viewed across multiple devices

image: Pixabay

As users increasingly turn to mobile devices and other unique web browsers (such as those found on game consoles or in public kiosks), a website’s ability to look good and function normally on any device has become a necessity.

A website that is designed with responsiveness in mind means that all its elements — images, text size and navigational elements — can respond to the web browser they’re being shown in. Whether you hire a web designer, do it yourself or use a website builder, this means it’s important to ensure that responsiveness is baked directly into your website design.

Web usability can mean the difference between success and failure

When you consider your own experiences viewing websites, think about your reactions to sites that take forever to load, sites that are confusing to use, or even sites that are just plain ugly. Not a great experience, right?

If you’re creating a blog, e-commerce website or any type of website in between, putting the user experience at the forefront of your considerations is one of the most important steps you can take to ensuring the success of your endeavor.