Usability Strategies for Future-proofing your Web Site

“Usability” means that site visitors can figure out how to use the site without thinking. They understand what to do. They are not confused about how your site works.

“Usability” also means that what your visitors “figured out how to do” is easy for them to actually accomplish.

The standard for usability is that everybody can use the site. This means folks who are blind, color blind or folks who need to use assistive devices.

Here is what your site should do

    Make it easy to scan page content. Use...

    • Bullets
    • Subheads
    • Highlighted Keywords
    • Short Sentences and Paragraphs
    • Simple Writing Style and Clear Language
    • Who-What-When-Where-Why-How
    • Place the most important information at the top of the page
    • Spell out jargon instead of using acronyms
  • Allow visitors to resize text
  • Show visitors what is valuable about your site
  • Make it easily to access anything on the site
  • Make it easy to access anything that was recently featured on you site
  • Keep download times as short as possible
  • Make it easy to search the site
  • Use standard color for text hyperlinks
  • Include a short description in the page title
  • Use liquid layouts if possible to allow visitors to resize the page
  • Use graphics to illustrate content. Graphics should not be on the site as decorations


  • Pop-ups
  • Content that is formatted to look like an ad
  • Banners
  • Violating Web conventions

What not to do: Devices, Strategies, Stupid Ideas

  • Placing and advertising banner at the top of the page
  • Flash™ intros (Even with a “Skip Into” button)
  • Writing and designing for the Web in the same way that you do for print
  • Placing any blinking, swirling, rotating or moving object on the page