Website Usability Essentials

A 1-day Training Course in Web Usability by Design — USE-01

Usability TrainingCourse Overview

This is a short course teaching website usability through the application of engineering principles to web site design. Its primary objective is enable organisations to formulate and implement a web site strategy which will raise their website's productivity well above the norm.

This web site usability training course is inspired by, and organised around a critical reading of Jakob Nielson's book, Designing Web Usability, New Riders, 2000.

The course is, however, written and delivered by a team of experienced web site design professionals, with their own perspectives on technical good practice and commercial feasibility.

Usability TrainingCourse Contents

Introduction to web site usability

  • Pragmatism and methodology
  • Art versus engineering
  • Why everyone gets web site design wrong the first time

Page design issues in web usability

  • Screen space: the scarcest resource
  • User controlled presentation
  • Screen resolution
  • Standard and non-standard content
  • Application versions
  • Data lifetimes
  • Response times
  • Connections and partial downloads
  • Link descriptions
  • Link titles
  • Link colours
  • Link consistency and site structure
  • Link expectations
  • Outbound links
  • Inbound links
  • Linking to subscriptions and registrations
  • Linking from adverts
  • Stylesheets for consistency
  • Stylesheets for separating content from presentation
  • Fonts and font sizes
  • Text size
  • Frames: just say no
  • Frames: more reasons to say no
  • If you must use frames
  • Printing issues

Content issues in web site usability

  • Content is critical and web content is different
  • The value of an editor
  • Discursive style
  • Keeping texts short
  • Checking and copy editing
  • Scannability
  • Plain English
  • Managing long texts by chunking
  • Page titles
  • Headings, sub-headings, and pull quotes
  • Legibility
  • Understanding image formats
  • Reducing image file sizes
  • Multimedia and plugins
  • Animation
  • Animation pitfalls
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Downloading and streaming
  • 3D
  • Conclusion: the attention economy

Navigation and searching in web site usability

  • From page design to site design
  • Homepages are over-estimated
  • Splash screens — just say no
  • Navigation: the three big questions
  • Where am I?
  • Where have I been?
  • Where can I go?
  • Creating and revealing site structure
  • Reducing navigational clutter
  • Managing subsites or sections
  • Search-dominant versus link-dominant users
  • Implementing searching
  • Presenting search results
  • Search term usage
  • Search destination design
  • Presenting URLs and domain names
  • Archival and old URLs
  • Executable links and URLs

Web usability testing

  • Statistics and methods
  • Whom to test
  • When and where to test
  • The test cycle
  • Conducting a test
  • Observing a test
  • Interpreting and using results
  • Using results

Intranets, accessibility, internationalisation and usability

  • Extranets
  • Intranets
  • Accessibility
  • Visual disabilities
  • Auditory and speech disabilities
  • Motor and cognitive disabilities
  • Internationalisation and cultural difference

Usability TrainingCourse Schedule

Usability TrainingFurther Details

Course Objectives

On completion of this website usability training course, students should be able to:

  • Run cheap and simple usability tests on website designs
  • Recognise the key facilitators of website usability
  • Recognise the most common blockers of website usability
  • Evaluate the relative importance of different website usability blockers
  • Recommend solutions and workarounds for common website usability problems
  • Implement simple solutions and workarounds using
    • HTML
    • CSS
    • Content copywriting

Target Audience

  • Web site design professionals who want attract more visitors to their web site and convert a higher proportion of those visitors into paying customers.
  • Technical managers and commercial directors who want to know why their web site is under-performing and how to dramatically raise its return on investment, through the pragmatic application of web usability techniques.
  • Web site content providers and editors who want to build usability methods into their everyday practice.

Training Pre-requisites

  • Basic computer literacy
  • Basic web literacy

Training Style

This usability seminar is, like all of our web site design training, an instructor-led course which can be delivered for in-house company groups or for individuals on public courses.

Unlike our purely technical web site design courses, its emphasis is on discovery, discussion and evaluation of the technologies and concepts involved rather than on practical/craft skills.