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Usability is a key concept in website and application design, referring to the ease with which users can use a product to achieve their goals.

Usability is determined by factors such as clarity of navigation, speed of learning, intuitiveness of the interface, minimization of errors, and overall user satisfaction. There are several specific usability tests that are used to test the level of user-friendliness of the product, such as heuristic evaluation, which provides targeted, actionable feedback that can guide design changes and is widely employed to improve e-Commerce sites.

Theories such as those of Jakob Nielsen and Donald Norman helped define the basic principles of usability, emphasizing the importance of designing with the user in mind.

According to these thoughts, the usability of a website is determined by a number of factors that together contribute to an effective, efficient, and satisfying user experience; these factors include the ease with which a user can navigate the site, understand the content, and interact with the various features offered. Some of the main factors that influence usability are:

  • Clarity of Navigation. The structure of the site should be logical and intuitive, with a clear and easily accessible navigation menu that allows users to quickly find what they are looking for.
  • Consistent Design. Consistent design throughout the site helps users become familiar with the interface and use the site with greater confidence.
  • Loading Speed. Pages should load quickly so as not to frustrate users and encourage them to stay on the site.
  • Readability of Content. Text should be easily readable, with appropriate use of fonts, text size, and color contrast.
  • Interactivity and Feedback. Interactive elements, such as forms and buttons, should provide immediate feedback to confirm users’ actions.
  • Accessibility. The site should be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, through the use of assistive technologies and adherence to WCAG guidelines.

More specifically, the 6 quality components of usability identified by Jakob Nielsen are:

  1. Usefulness. The site offers content or functionality that is useful and meets users’ needs.
  2. Efficiency. Once users have mastered the design of the site, they can achieve their goals quickly and easily.
  3. Learnability. The site is easy to learn, allowing users to operate effectively from the first use.
  4. Memorability. Users are able to return to the site after a period of non-use and resume operations without having to relearn everything all over again.
  5. Errors. The site should have a low error rate, meaning that users should not make many mistakes while using it, and if they do, they should be able to recover easily.
  6. Satisfaction. The use of the site should be a pleasant experience for users, who feel satisfied and have a positive opinion of the site.

These components are interrelated and all contribute to the overall user experience. For this reason, usability has significant implications on SEO because search engines, particularly Google, tend to reward sites that offer a good user experience with higher rankings in search results. A site with high usability potentially tends to generate higher engagement, reduce bounce rates, and increase conversions, all of which can positively influence SEO and retain users.