A Usability Checklist

A Usability Checklist

Create a clear path to conversion goalsFrom home design colors to fashion trends, hottest apps to coolest vacation spots, today’s pace of change is extraordinary. It seems that technology evolves as we sleep, presenting new opportunities and challenges with each new day. Staying abreast of changes in search algorithms, software updates and social platforms can be dizzying even for the most tech-savvy among us.

If I told you once, I told you 7 times …

With a significant shift in online usage to mobile devices, you may be tempted to focus your attention exclusively on mobile strategies. Don’t neglect your desktop.

Remember that marketing statistic about the need to be exposed to a message seven times, to make it stick?

While a recent report from ComScore notes that 65% of time spent online takes place via a mobile device, the desktop — cited as a “secondary touch point” in many cases – may be where the conversion happens.  

The user experience — on a phone, tablet, desktop or app — is key to keeping visitors on your site to drive toward those conversions. Usability is the practice of making the experience of transacting with your business or product simple and intuitive for users. Good usability enables users to focus on the task they wish to accomplish, rather than the tools needed to get it done. In addition to your site’s navigation and design, your content, fonts and colors are all relevant factors to consider. Compare this checklist to your own website to assess the user experience of your site.

FontsMobile Usability

  • Use clean fonts that are highly readable — especially on mobile devices
  • Avoid script fonts except as part of a logo or graphic
  • Use designated sub-head fonts (H1, H2, H3, etc.) for headlines and sub-heads
  • Don’t underline copy unless it’s a live link
  • Use a consistent font family throughout your site

Layout and Design

  • Utilize a mobile-responsive template to provide a navigable site on all devices
  • Include graphical elements to make each page visually interesting
  • Stick with a color scheme for all page elements including graphics
  • Color preferences vary by demographic group: know your target audience
  • Be sure your color choices are readable for users with color blindness

NavigationTouch-based naavigation

  • Make navigation clear and direct visitors to key conversion elements
  • Use a consistent navigation scheme throughout your site
  • Provide a logical architecture with sub-menus for more detailed information
  • Locate commonly used elements in customary places on your website
  • Guide customers with visual cues like bread crumbs and “You are here” indicators
  • Adapt your mobile navigation to the device and technology aptitude of your target audience

Usability for eCommerce

  • Clearly display ways to reach customer support (here’s why) and provide both live and online help via phone, email, chat, FAQ
  • Display your policies for returns and guarantees
  • Show shipping costs early in the purchase process
  • Minimize required steps and be sure your pages load quickly
  • Include product testimonials and customer reviews

To learn more about website usability, review our other blog posts.

7/11/16: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been revamped and updated for relevance and timeliness.



  1. Doreen Dove

    Great info as always Nancy
    As a stylist, color is key! Here are some facts about the ‘size’ of the issue…
    “Colour (color) blindness (colour vision deficiency, or CVD) affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world. In Britain this means that there are approximately 2.7 million colour blind people (about 4.5% of the entire population), most of whom are male” with most having the common form of red-green color blindness.

    1. Online Amplify (Post author)

      Thanks for bringing up a key point, Doreen. The prevalence of color blindness in men may give them a “fashion fail” pass, but we don’t want to neglect 4.5% of the population by ignoring the issue.

      1. Doreen

        Perhaps I should pop over to the UK – seems like an awful lot of men are having issues matching ties with their jackets!

  2. auto title loans

    I just read your article on A Usability Checklist: Compare To Your Own Website | Online Amplify and want to thank you for it.

  3. Deb

    Just sending back comments on a new web product. This checklist was just what I needed during my final review pass. You mentioned color preferences, what’s the best way to determine what colors to use?

    Love reading your blog. Always find something relevant.

    1. Online Amplify

      Thank you for your comment Deb; glad the checklist was useful. As you drill down on identifying your target customer, you should develop personas which represent the ideal customer demographic, likes and dislikes. Using these demographics, conduct searches to identify the best colors to appeal to your target client. A few items to consider in your research: (1) Seek input from reputable sites specializing in graphic design, SEO, and marketing (2) Be sure that the advice you follow is from companies based in the country where you plan to do business, since color meanings vary in other parts of the world (3) Certain colors evoke reactions, such as hunger, energy, or relaxation; use these colors strategically within your site.

      1. Deb

        Thanks for providing so much detail. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me as we develop our international deployment down the road.

  4. Art

    Interesting and helpful; thank you! Very useful information as I am working on my company’s new website.

    1. Online Amplify

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.