Using the list of heuristics from a usability website to evaluate ABC Bakery (a fictional company), along with other resources, this paper describes how to improve website usability. An explanation of the results of the evaluation, an update of the recommendations for improvement based on the results of the usability evaluation and the addressing of the principles of structure and layout, information architecture and site navigation, use of visual elements, and usability and accessibility will be addressed in the recommendations.
Running head: WEBSITE USABILITY
Website Usability for ABC Bakery
Consumers visit business websites in search of company and product information. Poorly designed websites can detract from website usability, which is frustrating to many end-users. Website usability is the simplicity of learning to navigate through or operate a website. Usability serves to allow a user to use a website without prior knowledge or expert training. "Usability also measures the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a product or system-whether a Web site, a software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device" (HHS, n.d.). Usability includes features such as effortlessness of learning, memorization of site use, the speed at which the user can complete the task, the regularity of site errors, and user appeal. Usability is important because it helps users to accomplish their goal. If users cannot do what they set out to do on a company's website, it may become less appealing to the user, which may have negative effects. The end-user determines if a website is usable. If an end-user cannot complete successfully the attempted tasks, it is assumed that the website has poor usability. Usability.gov offers guidelines and best practices to improve a website's usability but the web design and layout is determined by the website's owner. For this reason, websites can serve as a good marketing tool for some businesses and as a deterrent for other businesses. Whether or not a website can be helpful or harmful depends on many factors. In a December 1998 article entitled Heuristic Evaluation & Website Usability Testing, provided by Khera Communications, Inc., visibility of system status, matching between the system and the real world, user control and freedom, consistency and standards, error prevention, recognition rather than recall, flexibility and efficiency of use, aesthetic and minimalist design, helping users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors, and help and documentation were defined as the 10 heuristics as key factors to website usability (Khera Communications, 1998).
Website Usability for ABC Bakery
ABC Bakery, an online dessert bakery, local to Paulding County, Georgia can benefit from an evaluation of its website to improve its website performance. Recommendations for website improvement will be provided based on analysis of the websites structure and layout, information architecture and site navigation, use of visual elements, and the sites usability and accessibility.
The principles of structure and layout
Webpages should be structured to disclose the importance of the content or images displayed on the webpage. According to usability.gov, webpages should include "a moderate amount of white space... to avoid a look that is too busy" (HHS, n.d.). Webpages should also include lines of text that are adequate enough to convey the company's message or information.
ABC Bakery's homepage lacks the suggested white space to promote a less cluttered look. The homepage also lacks the appropriate amount of information necessary to convey the message of ABC's Bakery products and services. ABC ...