September 16, 2020

Factors of UX Design: Findable

User experience design is about creating the ideal encounter for the customer or visitor while using a product or service. The term is mainly used in relation to digital experiences, including websites, software, and mobile apps, but can also apply to the remote control to your TV, the control pad on your microwave, and the process you go through to return an item to a store.

User experience design can be described by seven factors, according to Peter Morville:

  • Useful: Do the content and function fulfill a need for the user?
  • Usable: Is the product or service easy to use?
  • Findable: Are the content and function navigable and locatable within the product?
  • Credible: Do users trust the content and function of the product or service?
  • Desirable: Do users appreciate the content and function of the product or service?
  • Accessible: Can users of all abilities access and use all content and function?
  • Valuable: Is the content and function of considerable use, service, or importance to the user and the business?

In my next seven blog posts, I'll be doing a deeper dive into each of these factors that shape the user experience. Today's post is the fifth in the series and is about findability.

So let's say that you have visitors on your website, but they can't find what they're looking for! D'oh! One of the biggest causes of user failure is when users simply can’t locate stuff on your website. But first, let's define findability. Findability is the ease with which information contained on a website can be found.

High findability is primarily the result of well-defined information architecture and a well-designed navigation system, but also encompasses aspects of user interface design and accessibility. Just to get everyone on the same page, Wikipedia defines information architecture as "the art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability."

Findability can be divided into external findability and on-site findability, based on where users need to find the information.

External findability is mainly involved in the search engine optimization of your website. Several factors affect external findability:

  • Search engine indexing: Search engines have rules about dos and don'ts for achieving your ranking. Follow them.
  • Page descriptions: This is the sentence or two that appears after the title and link when you do a Google search.
  • Keyword research: Reconcile the terms used by customers to search and developers to describe.

On-site findability is concerned with the ability of a user to find what they are looking for within a specific site. Several factors affect findability on a website:

  • Site search: If website visitors do not find what they are looking for, they tend to leave rather than browse.
  • Related content: User experience can be enhanced by trying to understand the needs of the customer and provide suggestions for other, related information.
  • Thoughtful design: The design of your website including content creation is the top factor for the customer experience.

Well-Designed Main Navigation

Helping your users navigate efficiently should always be a high priority. Do not rely on the search bar. A well-designed and prominent main navigation menu acts as a map that directs your users to the information they’re want or need. Here are several tips that will help ensure that your navigation menu is easily findable for users:

  • Keep it simple: Your navigation menu should only contain the menu items that direct users to the most sought-after content on your site.
  • Make it stand out: Consider font and icon size, and the color contrast.
  • Make it responsive: It’s essential to consider how your menu will look on a tablet and a smartphone.

Do you have a question about findability? Please leave them in the comments below!

Are you planning on designing a new website or mobile app? I can help! Please contact me to get the conversation started on how we can serve your customers.

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