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3 Ways to Improve Your Product’s Usability

October 23, 2020

Usability is a popular topic among our clients. One of the first things we do with most of our clients’ existing products and websites is conduct a heuristic evaluation to identify common issues. We assess areas of opportunity based on UX best practices and our expertise, then we provide a list of prioritized changes and recommendations for improvements (Check out our article on Heuristic Evaluations for more about this process.)

There are three issues we often see: Inconsistent styling and interactions, poor visual indicators, and limited accessibility. Keep reading to see why each one matters and how to you can address potential issues.

Keep it Consistent

Using standard styling and a single set of interaction patterns throughout your product will make it easier for your users to understand and efficiently interact with your product. Whether a user is signing in, signing up, or checking out, how the page is setup can help the user orient themselves to work quickly.

If you don’t have one already, consider creating a UX style guide for your team. This reference guide outlines all the styling of components in your product or website, including colors, fonts and text styling, form fields, button styling, key interaction patterns, and sometimes even copy and/or brand tone. Using a style guide speeds up design and development while ensuring consistency to reduce cognitive load on the user.

Use Visual Indicators to Delight Users

Well placed, consistent, visual indicators help users immensely wherever they are within your product ecosystem. Much like consistency in design, visual indicators help users orient themselves and better understand what is going on. Examples of visual indicators include supportive text, the stepper UI within a wizard, or even a toggle switch.

Well-deployed visual indicators can make an experience delightful. Visual Indicators are widely used in gamification in the form of rewards, points, leveling up, and more.

Make it Accessible

Accessibility is fundamental. Just like buildings are required to be accessible, software and websites are as well. You can find more information about ADA Compliance on the ADA site. A product or website should be designed and built so it may be used by anyone, including people that will read the site and those that will hear the site (through the use of screen readers. Aspects of ADA compliance not only impact the user interface design (what people see), but also the coding of the site.

Taking the time to address inconsistencies, poor visual indicators, and accessibility will improve your product’s usability. And improved user experiences lead to increased adoption and a strong bottom line.