Most people think good coding and a nice design is the most important part to make a great success of a website. I agree these things are important, but usability is just as important.
I just finished my book from Steve Krug (If you like the book by it from his websites he earns more) and there are a bunch of nice tips and examples of usability. Now I will try to give some nice usability tips assisted with a few examples.
Why is Usability so important? If your site is one big mess with a lot of words and with a hard to understand navigation the frustration grows. If the frustration gets to much they will leave, and with some people this means that they will decide in a split second.
One of the most important things to know about how people using websites is that they are not really reading, they are scanning the page for words they are interested in. With this in the back of our head we can take a look at Myspace.com
When I visited this site for the first time the banners where asking my attention while I was not really interested in them. They make the homepage very busy with there colours and some are even changing every 5 sec.
First we take a look at the menu on the top of the web-page. This menu contains 15 menu items what is really a lot. In the book Paradox of choice they describe a part of this problem: Web-users want a lot of choice but when they have a lot of choice they have a hard time to chose and they may decide to go away. For Myspace even the 15 menu items wan’t enough so they decided to put some more links under the video previews.
Lets pretend you this was the first time you went to Myspace.com and you don’t know what they do. There is not really something that is explaining what they do. The tag-line under the logo is not that well chosen.
This are some little tips for usability on the homepage of your website. I hope they are helpful and maybe next week I will post more tips.