Nicola Perk gives us at Heavy Chef some great tips on usability success, the formula to follow, and the ideal user experience.
Hi Nicola. So why is usability so important for a website to be successful?
It seems quite obvious, but most of us – from our day to day use of the internet – will find that it is being totally ignored. If a user cannot use your website to achieve their goal, which is hopefully your goal as well, then you will not be successful. Even a website that the owners think is successful, could be even more successful with a few tweaks. It is a continual process – even after the website has been built.
What is most important for creating ‘the ideal user experience’?
Testing, testing, testing. Ensuring that people outside of your organisation are also involved (unless you have a very good heuristic tester).
Which creative websites stick out to you, where usability was used in an innovative way?
I usually don’t see a website for it’s creativity, so I can’t remember any I have seen recently. Unfortunately as a usability person you are always very picky and so you only remember the bad ones! You can usually spot annoyances on most websites you visit. I would probably get into trouble for mentioning them, so I will keep quiet!
What would you tell people starting out in this industry that you wish you’d known earlier on?
Ensure that the project managers let you see designs/wireframes at every stage of the project, and be forceful. They usually cut corners to speed up the process and then wonder why the websites do not convert. This means you spend double the time trying to fix the problem.
Also, understand that as soon as the client gets their hands on the content, you will probably lose most control. Try persevere by doing split-testing – usually the figures speak for themselves.
Who else in your field do you find interesting?
Thank you for your time and advice Nicola. We look forward to critically analysing all websites we visit in the future!