Online Test Banks
Score higher
See Online Test Banks
Learning anything is easy
Browse Online Courses
Mobile Apps
Learning on the go
Explore Mobile Apps
Dummies Store
Shop for books and more
Start Shopping

Mastering Business Website Usability

Navigation is just one of several usability factors that might dramatically affect the success of your business website. A site that is obvious and easy to use gives viewers a positive impression of your company. A site that doesn’t run on their browsers does just the opposite!

Generally, you don't know how any specific users have set their browser options — whether they block all pop-up windows, which plug-ins they’ve installed, how accurately their monitors display colors, what screen resolution they use, or how fast their Internet connections are. Some high-end application developers purchase software like BrowserHawk to detect users’ browser settings.

According to a Pew Internet research report, only two-thirds of American adults in 2010 have a home broadband connection. Most of the others go online elsewhere; about 5 percent still use dial-up. This varies with age: The younger the users, the more likely they are to have broadband. While adults over 65 don’t seem worried about a lack of broadband access, minority Americans see that lack as a major hindrance.

These statistics have a direct impact on whether you provide rich media and how you design your site.

You can garner some browser-use statistics for your site over time, and by all means, research configuration across a more narrowly defined group of users in your target market. Because that still doesn’t tell you what will happen with a specific user, you might need to provide links to plug-ins with automated installation. If you’re targeting a rural or low-income market, offer dial-up or non-Flash alternatives for those with slower connections.

Test your site on all popular, current browsers and versions for compatibility and download speed. In August 2011, slightly less than a quarter of all users run some version of Internet Explorer; about 40 percent use Firefox, 30 percent use Chrome, and the remainder use a variety of other browsers such as Safari or Opera.

Sites such as NetMechanic or BrowserCam sell software to developers for use with multiple clients or offer versions for one-time, limited use, often for $20 or less.

  • Add a Comment
  • Print
  • Share
blog comments powered by Disqus

Inside Sweepstakes

Win $500. Easy.