dont make me thinkWhen looking at a website, we often talk about how well it functions and how appealing it looks. A good website also has well-implemented search engine optimization.


The question remains, is the website usable? We at The Belford Group spent time as a staff last year reading a very valuable book by Steve Krug called Don’t Make Me Think (2nd Edition). The book talks about how good website design and development creates a site that doesn’t make the user have to think too hard to navigate through the site.


10 usability lessons

Krug offers 10 Lessons for Usability that are good for any website designer, business owner or marketing manager to know when they are reviewing a website:


Usability means …making sure that the site is easily usable by someone with “average ability and experience” without getting overly frustrated.

Does your website function well overall and can someone who is generally accustomed to being online figure out what they need to know? If it’s ecommerce, is the checkout process fairly intuitive?


Web applications should explain themselves-when people look at an application or content on the website, its intended purpose and function should be obvious.

Is it obvious where people go to check out? Is it easy to figure out where to find and how to fill out any online forms that might be on your site?


Don’t make me think- confusing or even less-than-intuitive websites make people not stay, not come back and generally leave a negative impression of the company.

Does your website offer a pleasurable experience or do people feel like they are taking a calculus exam?


Don’t waste my time- People use websites because it usually saves time and effort. They are constantly moving through a site and looking for what they need quickly.

Can users navigate your site and find the information they need in a quick, orderly fashion or do they have to wade through to find what they need?


Users still cling to their back buttons-the back button is the most used button on any website

Where does the back button take users? Does it make them lose all their data in a form they might be filling out?


We’re creatures of habit-users are used to navigating websites, filling out forms and performing other web functions in the same ways and are not usually inclined to learn something new, even if it is better.

Does your site use familiar methods, terms and navigation?


No time for small talk-All websites use a little bit of “happy talk” but too much is, well, too much. Happy talk is the content that doesn’t really say much. It talks about products in general, overly friendly terms without giving concrete examples. Most website users are savvy enough to read through most happy talk and they want to get to the real message.

Does your web content share an actual message about your product or services, or is it filled with flowery talk that doesn’t mean much?


Don’t lose search-web users love the search function to find what they need. Search buttons should be obvious and easy to find.

Well, where is your search function and how well does it work?


We form mental site maps-web users think of where a page is in relationship to the site hierarchy (for example, looking for a description of a service under the main services page).

Is your website’s site map something that is logical for the user?


Make it easy to go home-most web users love the “home” button and use it to start over within a site instead of navigating from one section to another

Is your home button easy to find or are people trying to figure out where to click to get “home?”


If you answered no

Under each rule of usability, we asked a question or two to ponder about one’s own website. If the answer is negative for any of these questions, the website might need some tweaking. Improved graphics, custom software, premium SEO or even a complete redesign are all possible solutions to these issues.

The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget …and any medium. Call us. We’d love to hear from you. 479-443-9945