Have you used common sense on your landing page?
Or have you simply slapped your landing page together?
Review your site to ensure that you have followed these guidelines. If you have not, flag any deviations as the basis for redesigning your page.
Some overall goals of usability are:
When we are considering usability for landing pages, we should always take into account the following picture of our visitor's typical mind-set and behavior:
Information architecture defines the way that information is organized on your website. This is typically hierarchical in nature (and looks like an extended outline on your sitemap page). Remember, the Web is a hyperlink medium. People do not necessarily follow orderly or linear progressions (like they would when reading this column, for instance). They jump around and follow their nose. For this reason, some websites provide multiple navigation schemes to support their visitors' mental maps.
In general, your site navigation should:
If I can't find something on your landing page, it might as well not exist. Accessibility has to do with how information is organized, how much emphasis is assigned to items, and how easy the information is to access.
Availability. Do visitors know what their options are by visually inspecting the page? Is your navigation prominent enough, consistent, and placed in a conventional location?
Feedback. When users take an action, do they get immediate feedback? Does the page change when they click on or mouse over important content?
Organization. Is your information architecture clear, consistent, and based on appropriate visitor roles and tasks? Is it organized into a small number of digestible chunks? Is it easy to skim and scan?
Fault tolerance. Do you anticipate common user errors or refuse to deal with them because only "illogical" people would make them? Do you suggest meaningful or helpful alternatives when the visitor has reached an apparent dead-end? Does your site support the easy reversal of unintended actions by the user? Are your error messages supportive or alienating?
Affinity. Does your intended audience like your site? Do they feel comfortable or anxious during their visit? Do they consider you professional and credible? Are your visual look-and-feel and editorial tone appropriate for your audience? Remember, these questions are answered automatically by the visitor's limbic system and cannot be fooled or reasoned with. Their initial gut impression of your site will influence their motivation to continue, trust in your site, confidence in the information that you provide, perception of the ease of use, and overall satisfaction.
Legibility. Is your font easy to read? Is it the right size for your intended audience? Do text and background colors clash, or assault the senses? Are too many fonts, sizes, and colors used throughout the page? Since most of our Web experiences are currently based on reading, legibility requires special attention. The following Web legibility guidelines should be followed:
The point of good usability is to make things easy for your visitors. Remember, if it's not obvious, you are losing a lot of money. Subject your landing page to the "Obvious Standard" to improve conversion rates.
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Tim Ash is CEO of SiteTuners.com, a landing page optimization firm that offers conversion consulting, full-service guaranteed-improvement tests, and software tools to improve conversion rates. SiteTuners' AttentionWizard.com visual attention prediction tool can be used on a landing page screenshot or mock-up to quickly identify major conversion issues. He has worked with Google, Facebook, American Express, CBS, Sony Music, Universal Studios, Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, and Coach.
Tim is a highly-regarded presenter at SES, eMetrics, PPC Summit, Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Affiliate Conference, and LeadsCon. He is the chairperson of ConversionConference.com, the first conference focused on improving online conversions. A columnist for several publications including ClickZ, he's host of the weekly Landing Page Optimization show and podcast on WebmasterRadio.fm. His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.
He received his B.S. and M.S. during his Ph.D. studies at UC San Diego. Tim is the author of the bestselling book, "Landing Page Optimization."
Connect with Tim on Google+.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT