A good website is a usable website

When it comes to developing a website, it’s important to give some thought to usability. With so many websites around, if people find your website difficult to navigate or find the information they’re after, they’ll quickly leave. You need to approach your website in the same way your customers would. If it’s awkward, irritating or just plain hard to use, you can bet that visitors will make a fast exit. They will be a lot less tolerant and far less forgiving than you are!

Use the following 25 points when designing or reviewing your website. It might be an idea to print it out or paste it into a spreadsheet and give yourself ticks for things your site does well and crosses for areas that need improving. Make comments as you go for improvements you’d like to see.

Ultimately these are only suggestions. You don’t have to panic if you don’t get 100%. Even small changes can make a big improvement. Obviously if you’re building a cheap website then you’re best to do as much as you can by yourself, but if you need help with anything, feel free to contact me.

1. Site load-time is reasonable
2. Adequate text-to-background contrast
3. Font size/spacing is easy to read
4. Flash & add-ons are used sparingly
5. Images have appropriate ALT tags
6. Site has a custom ‘not found/404 page’


7. Company logo is prominently placed
8. Tagline makes company’s purpose clear
9. Homepage can be reviewed in about 5 seconds
10. Clear path to company information
11. Clear path to contact information


12. Main navigation is easily identifiable
13. Navigation labels are clear & concise
14. Number of buttons/links is kept to a minimum
15. Company logo is linked to homepage
16. Links are consistent & easy to identify
17. Site search is easy to access


18. Major headings are clear & descriptive
19. Critical content is above the “fold” – above the fold means it can be viewed without the visitor having to scroll
20. Styles & colors are consistent
21. Emphasis (bold, etc.) is used sparingly
22. Ads & popups are unobtrusive
23. Main copy (written content) is concise & explanatory
24. URLs (links in the address bar) are meaningful & user-friendly
25. HTML page titles are explanatory (this is also important for SEO)

25 ways to make your website more usable
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