Website Usability: Content

When it comes to web content, some things are obvious:
– It should be free from misspellings, grammar, or factual mistakes;
– It should be easy to understand, interesting, and not boring.
– It needs to be SEO-friendly.

However, from the website usability point of view, the content must be first of all useful! And there are other things needed to meet website usability best practices and standards.

Content Look and Formats
You should present your content in a popular web format that doesn’t need to download any additional applications. HTML formats are best for this purpose. While PDF documents look good, they might require readers to take additional steps if they don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.

The content of your site should be easy to read. Don’t make the font size too small or too big. You might want to let visitors choose the text size they prefer via a short and clear message in the header or footer of your site – many sites do this.

Avoid using bright colors in the text. They just annoy readers.

I personally don’t like ”negative-colored” sites – those with a dark background and light text. They can make one’s eyes hurt when one goes to other sites with the usual light background and dark text, since these look too bright after visiting dark-colored sites.

Your visitors should be able to understand, on the spot, what a web page talks about. So the key elements of your content should be somehow outlined. Make them bold, underline them, or create headlines with larger text sizes (or by using the H1, H2, or H3 tags). We will talk about these and other tags later, and also discuss the CSS stylesheet that you can use to make your content look good.

Content Organization
The content on your site should be well-organized. You should do the following:
– Put the most important parts at the top of your content section.
– Group related parts together, helping readers to understand content more quickly and easily.
– Get rid of anything unnecessary.

Content Structure
You might want to divide your content into sections. Reading sections of text when they are separated is much easier than when everything is crowded together. Separate content sections by topic and add some design elements. For example, a good CSS layout style with barely-seen grey window limits would work great.

Try to provide visitors with the convenience of being able to read everything with less page-scrolling and fewer clicks.

People perceive information differently, so know your visitors and present your content the way they would want it to be presented.

Use lists and tables to structure your content like I did within this post. It helps readers to obtain the information in a more convenient way.

Structure the content with logical and easy-to-use sub-menus that are easily seen from any point of the content’s screen. Make sure that readers understand where they are within the content, where they can go next to find out more, and how they can go back to what they already read.

It is a good idea to interact with your audience. Ask questions and let them answer by adding a feedback form right below the content part of the page. Create polls if needed.

Finally, try to include introduction and conclusion statements to your content where possible. Sometimes it helps to read these two sections to get the picture.

Hope this helps you making your site’s content more user-friendly.

Shavkat Karimov
Internet Marketing Manager
mobileStorm, Inc.
Every problem comes with a solution
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