The Importance of Web Usability

Don't Make Me Think web usability

Web usability is the most important aspect of your website’s design. When running an online business your site must be easy-to-use and attractive. According to Steve Krug, the author of Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, a website should not be hard to navigate. If potential clients and customers have difficulty figuring out what to click, they won’t visit it again. Basically, if your website makes people think, then you are in trouble. 

First Law of Web Usability

All of the information should be designed to be self-evident. Links should look like links, menus should look like menus, etc. This way, people won’t get frustrated. Information that makes users think are technical terms, clever or silly names, and specific names in companies and marketing. For example: if a coffee shop calls coffee “cafe” or “drip” that should be changed. People enjoy cleverness in person, but when they are trying to look at an online menu they won’t like it at all. So it’s best to call coffee by it’s proper name. In the same sense, Jobs shouldn’t be called “Employment Opportunities” and products should be specified, such as “shirts” or “pants.”

An Example of Bad Web Usability

web usability dmvAn example of a bad web usability can be found at New York’s DMV website. It seems pretty simple at first. There is a menu where you can select whatever it is you need. But, after clicking on an option, a drop-down menu pops up with many more options. This can easily overwhelm people. For example, “surrender vehicle plates to the DMV” is located under “insurance.” Why is it located there? This website is equally as frustrating and confusing as the DMV itself.

An Example of Good Web Usability

web usability nytimesNow if you go to The New York Times website, it has front page articles and videos to click on, which is the latest news. And if you’re looking for something more specific to read, they have a menu with article topics such as “politics” and “tech” — which brings you right to the section. The New York Times has made it easy for readers to navigate through the website and get to the content they desire faster.


So if you don’t want to make the same mistakes as the DMV, make sure everyone can use your website. It’s essential to keep it clean, up-to-date, and easily-navigable. If you overwhelm users with too much content, or unintentionally hide your information, they will most likely not come back.