usabilityAnyone, even with limited technical knowledge can use a website builder to throw together a website in just a couple of hours.

However, you will need a more complex website if you want to convey all the information in a ‘usable’ way whilst creating a professional image and brand. Naturally, the greater the complexity, the greater the challenge in designing the interface, whilst maintaining that all important ‘usability’. Here are a few simple tips to ensure that your site not only looks good, but is highly usable for your users.

Firstly, start with a visual sitemap of your site. This provides users with a simple, but informative overview of your website. It also provides a ‘searchable’ and search engine ‘indexable’ list of the pages and structure of your site and keeps the content and information organized.

Visual sitemaps are also a good way for you as the webmaster to easily see the existing structure of your site, making it easier for you to grow the architecture of your site in a systematic and user friendly way.

Make sure that your site delivers what your users are looking for in terms of content and information. try and think of it from a user’s perspective and ask yourself what you would expect to see if you were visiting a similar website looking for similar information, products or services.

Also make sure that users can easily get in touch with you if they require further information for whatever reason. Contact pages are a vital part of every website. These should include all customer information that enables you as site answer to efficiently and effectively answer their query. If possible add telephone and fax numbers, plus other means of contact, such as social media, or say LinkedIn.

Try to incorporate a CAPTCHA element at the end of your form to prevent spammers. However make sure that the CAPTCHA is not too difficult for your users as they will give up and go elsewhere.

However, don’t rush in an create your site without sketching it out first. Again think about what the user will expect and want and how this information should be presented. Don’t make your site cluttered with unnecessary content and images that will slow down its delivery of content whilst loading on a page. Remember that Google favors sites that load quickly as part of their algorithm search ranking.

Elegantly looking sites can look nice, but again often don’t deliver what the user actually wants in terms of fast loading content. Ensure that your site looks the same throughout and think about your ‘brand’ colors, font style etc – make it uniform for consistency.

Finally, be sure to monitor the usability of your site by signing up to Google Analytics or similar website monitoring servers. Also try and ask your users for feedback on your site and take on board this feedback in a positive way so you can continuously ‘tweak’ your site’s design and architecture to create the ultimate user experience.