6 Steps On How to Deal With Website Usability Issues

Usability issues refer to any problem that is related to a particular system or item that causes their users to get undesirable results. The good news though is that this problem is easy to identify, especially among websites. Poor design, vague instructions, complicated walls of texts, faulty features and malfunctioning software are all examples of problems that make websites unusable.

These problems not only make websites less usable, they also make them less efficient at attracting traffic, which is why website usability problems should always be taken seriously.

The best way to address these kinds of problems is to investigate them methodically. Investigation of a particular usability issue can stop website problems from getting worse, and may even help prevent similar problems from happening in the future. So if you are presently having usability problems with your site, and you don’t know where to start, then here’s a step by step process to help you rectify the situation.

6 Steps On How to Deal With Website Usability Issues

Step 1 – Ask The Right Questions 

The first step in addressing website usability issues is to ask the right questions, and here are several examples to help you get started:

  • Is the website simple and easy to understand?
  • How does the website help its intended users?
  • What are the common complaints that users have about the website?
  • Would users still use the same website if there were alternatives?
  • Which design is the most effective for the site?

Asking these kinds of questions can be considered a preparatory process for dealing with website usability problems. They can also help frame the problems in the right way by focusing on the most pertinent factors

Step 2 – Contextualize The Problem

In order to address a website’s usability problems, it’s important to put them in the right context. For example, whenever users are given encounter a confusing web page or instruction, they might end up doing something than what they were supposed to do. The same is true if the website’s design is confusing and keeps causing its users to do things that they don’t really want to do. Identifying the context of each problem allows the website’s owners to detect if there are patterns to the site’s usability issues, or if they occur by random chance.

Furthermore, giving context to usability and interface problems leads to more clues as to why these problems occur in the first place, and how they may be prevented. This is why systematic attempts at identifying website usability problems will always have certain limits, because they don’t take into account the variability between different types of problems. In other words, don’t expect usability problems to have consistency, as they can be quite unpredictable.

Step 3 – Is The Problem Isolated or Widespread? 

The full extent of a particular problem should always be taken into consideration. For example, let’s say that one of the website’s problems is it’s very slow to load. If only a limited number of users encounter this problem then it’s likely that the problem is isolated, and the real cause of the problem may just be their internet connection. However, if most of the site’s users keep complaining that it’s slow then there really may be something wrong with the website’s design.

Regardless of the scope of these problems though, they must always be taken seriously. Usability problems have a way of spreading if not properly addressed, which is why they must be handled promptly while they’re still manageable.

Step 4 – Analyze the Severity of The Problem

How serious are the problems caused by the website’s usability issue? Are they manageable, or are they serious? The answer to these questions must be clear and precise, as any ambiguity may cause an organization to underestimate the problem. So test each webpage’s content, particularly those that rely on complex software to see if they are all working properly. If the problem is related to the network then other sites related to the network must be analyzed as well.

In any case, the severity of a particular website’s usability issue is influenced by its overall design. So one of the best ways to deal with usability related problems is to review the website’s design and fix it if it needs fixings.

Step 5 – Recommend Solutions 

Assuming that the source of website’s usability issue has been identified, the next step should be to propose possible solutions to the problem. Proposed solutions should always address all of the issues related to the usability problem, and should offer practical advice on how they may be prevented from happening in the future. For example, if the usability issue is related to your site’s speed and performance then one way to solve the problem will be to speak with your host provider to see if they can help you take care of the problem.

Furthermore, any proposed solution should also include information that accurately describe the nature of problem as well as their full extent. Oftentimes, identifying such issues accurately can help developers find useful alternatives to website software that have usability problems.

Step 6 – Compile A Report About The Website’s Usability Issue

Finally, a report about the site’s usability problem will need to be compiled and submitted to appropriate personnel and departments. The report should include the nature of the usability problem as well as the course of action used to rectify it. This way, should a similar problem happen in the future, the existing information can be used to help find a solution, or even prevent it from ever happening again.

Conclusion

Usability problems are very common among most websites. Whether it’s their design and navigation, or their speed and content, problems with regards to website interface and usability problems will always come up every now and again. These problems can either be the result of human error or simply a design flaw, but either way, they need to be resolved promptly.

Solutions to website usability problems, therefore, are not just meant to address usability, but efficiency and practicality as well. Poorly made websites are not uncommon after all, and their flawed contents can be caused by all kinds of factors. So by following the steps mentioned here, you will be able to improve your site’s usability without compromising its content.

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Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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