BY JOHN TAN
The user experience is perhaps the most important factor for determining the success of a website. Here are questions related to UX, usability, and accessibility.
There are plenty of browsers out there — make sure your website works well in the major ones. You can use a web service like Browsershots to preview your work in various operating systems and web browsers.
While desktop browsers are pretty straightforward (with the exception of IE), mobile devices require an extra bit of care and attention; read about best practices for the mobile web design.
Unfortunately, even with free screen readers out there like Fire Vox, a screen-reading add-on for Firefox, few web designers consider testing their designs for screen-reader web accessibility. You might want to.
Not every experience is the same and we can’t control the visitor’s browsing environment, so try to make sure your website gracefully degrades when JS is turned off.
Following on the previous point, if your website is particularly Flash-dependent, you might want to make sure that your use of Flash is accessible.
One of the simplest accessibility aids to implement is using descriptive and useful alt attribute for images.
Complying with web accessibility best practices is important for users who have disabilities that affect their capability to browse the web. Fulfilling the recommendations in the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the perfect place to start.
Usability testing is quite easy and inexpensive to carry out nowadays. Performing tests could give you ideas for improvements. Check out web services such as Concept Feedback and Feedback Army.
URLs that are easy to read will give potential visitors the chance to predict where they’re headed (and is good for SEO to boot). Using pretty URLs (example.com/about-us) instead of system URLs (example.com/?p=655) can enhance the experience of visitors. If you’re using a content management system or a custom-built app, learn about rewrite engines.
Speed is an important factor of usability. Consider how your website will affect visitors, particularly ones on slow connections.
Most websites need a search box to help visitors locate the information they need. Ensure that yours is easy to use and that the results are accurate.
Whether it’s pop-ups and modal windows that won’t close, or scripts that cripple right-clicking, make sure your site doesn’t have behavior that annoys users.
If you’re asking for too much information or your forms are too hard to complete, people will enter fake details or simply refuse to submit the data.
While you might get spammed in the process, allowing visitors to send you an email or to initiate a Skype call could be a great way to connect with them.
Root out dead links in every nook and cranny. Tools such as Xenu’s Link Sleuth can automate the process; learn how to discover broken links in your website.
Credits: Six Revision
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