Wayfinding and city signage
Website usability
Navigating drop down menus that disappear before you can click, filling out forms for online payments that inexplicably clear themselves, finding yourself on a Web page having no clue how you got there or how to return to where you were—we’ve all been there. Few things are more frustrating in the online world than a website that stands between the user and the information they are seeking or an action they are trying to complete.

That’s where website usability comes in. Website usability refers to how well users can navigate and use a website to achieve their goals (such as moving from one page to another, finding information, paying a bill or searching for a phone number) and how satisfied they are with that process. Generally, consideration of website usability occurs throughout the process of building a website, but it truly should be an ongoing basis.

Testing usability is part art, part science. While usability testing often is a highly technical process that requires special tools, it can be conducted on a smaller scale to provide basic insight that can be made to improve your site.

With this basic approach in mind, we’ve compiled key factors that affect usability with tips, tools and ideas to guide you on the path to happy website visitors and a website that rocks …

Start by forming a usability task force—a group of employees or volunteers willing to help you determine and rate how easy and effective your website is to use. Send invitations to participate with a fun computer-themed gift, like screen dusters or a USB pouch. Throw in an extra enticement with the promise of gift cards or a nice gift upon completion.

Once you’ve got the volunteers, you’ll want to assess how they use your website by asking them to complete a series of tasks. Record their experiences and follow up with them, asking:

  • How easy was it for you to learn to perform the desired task? (Learnability)
  • How obvious and easy was the task to accomplish? (Intuitiveness)
  • Are there any ideas you have for reducing the time it takes to complete the task? (Efficiency)
  • If you made a mistake while performing a task, how quickly did you recover? (Fault tolerance)
  • How easy was it to repeat a task? (Memorability)

After addressing tasks, move on to seek feedback regarding other aspects of your website, like readability, navigability and accessibility.

Readability refers to the copy and overall content on your site—is it easy to read and comprehend? Look at these indicators:

  • Ease of comprehension: Is the content easy to understand and internalize? Are the words being used familiar to the average Internet user or are they too complex and uncommon? Are sentences and paragraphs concise?
  • Legibility: Are fonts big enough? Is there enough contrast between the text and its background?
  • Reading enjoyment: Would users appreciate and enjoy the content? Is the information accurate, of high quality and well-written? Do font characteristics such as size, spacing and color make reading longer passages easy or do they strain the eyes?

Navigability refers to how easily visitors to your site can move from one page on your site to the next. Navigability consists of a variety of things like menus, search boxes, links within the copy of a webpage and more. Consider these indicators to assess how your site measures up:

  • Information architecture (IA): How well are webpages categorized and organized? How well are navigational features constructed?
  • Findability: Are there sufficient site features such as search boxes, archive pages, links and navigation features that aid in finding relevant webpages?
  • Efficiency of navigation: How fast and in how many actions (number of clicks, how much text, etc.) does it take to get to page of interest?

And finally, accessibility. This refers to how well people—especially visitors with disabilities or impairments like color blindness or limited mobility—can get to your site and interact with it once there. It also refers to the level of accessibility someone has with your site from varying electronic devices.This is especially critical with the rapid adoption of mobile devices, tablets, netbooks, Web-enabled TVs and gaming consoles. Internet users also have a much wider array of Web browsers than ever before: IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and so forth.

All of these options render our work in different ways and present interaction challenges. For example, selecting a link on a touchscreen tablet is completely different from clicking it on a desktop computer.

Take these considerations into account when performing Web accessibility analysis:

  • Cross-browser/Cross-platform compatibility: Does the site work in as many browsing situations as possible? Is the site responsive, flexibly changing the layout depending on how the user views it?
  • Color choice: Are the colors used high contrast? Do the colors create a hindrance to people with colorblindness or poor vision?

After compiling responses and feedback from your task force, follow through with your promise of a small gift, like a thermo lunch container, a T-shirt or gift card. Review your responses with your IT and marketing teams to brainstorm ways to improve the usability of your site. Then, implement to your heart’s content.

Your government agency’s website could be aesthetically pleasing with a plethora of information and crazy awesome functionality. Yet, if visitors to your site can’t figure out how to use it or how to access the information it contains, none of the bells and whistles will matter.

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December

Monthly
World Aids Month
Bingo’s Birthday Month
Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month
National drunk & Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month
National Write a Business Plan Month
National Tie Month

 

Operation Santa Paws
Quince and Watermelon Month
Rising Star Month
Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month
Safe Toy and Gift Month
Spiritual Literacy Month
Take a New Year’s
Resolution to Stop Smoking
Tomato and Winter Squash Month
Universal Human Rights Month
Worldwide Food Service Safety Month
Weekly
Cookie Cutter Week: 1-7
Tolerance Week: 1-7
Recipe Greeting for the Holidays Week: 1-8
Clerc-Gallaudet Week: 4-10
National Handwashing Awareness Week: 6-12
Human Rights Week: 10-17
Halcyon Days: 15-29
Posadas: 16-24
Saturnalia: 17-23
Christmas Bird Count Week: 18-1/5
Gluten-Free Baking Week: 19-25
Chanukah (Hanukkkah): 20-28
It’s About Time Week: 25-31
Kwanzaa: 26-1/1
Daily
1: Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day
1: Civil Air Patrol Day
1: Day With(out) Art Day
1: Rosa Parks Day
1: Special Kids Day
1: World Aids Day
2: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery Day
2: National Mutt Day
2: Special Education Day
3: Earmuff Day or Chester Greenwood Day
3: International Day of Disabled Persons
3: Skywarn Recognition Day
4: National Cookie Day
4: National Dice Day
5: AFL-CIO Day
5: Ashura
5: Bathtub Party Day
5: International Ninja Day
5: Internati­onal Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development
6: Miners’ Day
6: National Pawnbrokers Day
6: St. Nicholas Day
7: National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
7: International Civil Aviation Day
7: National Cotton Candy Day
9: International Anti-corruption Day
9: National Salesperson Day
9: Weary Willie Day
10: Day of the Horse
10: Dewey Decimal System Day
10: Human Rights Day
10: International Shareware Day
10: Nobel Prize Day
11: International Mountain Day
11: UNICEF Birthday
11: Worldwide Candle Lighting Day
11: World Choral Day
12: Poinsettia Day
14: Monkey Day
15: Bill of Rights Day
15: Cat Herders Day
16: Barbie and Barney Backlash Day
16: National Chocolate-covered Anything Day
16: Underdog Day
16: Zionism Day
17: Asarah B’Tevet
17: Wright Brothers Day
18: International Migrants Day
19: Day for South-South Cooperation
20: Hanukkah
20: International Human Solidarity Day
20: Mudd Day
21: Crossword Puzzle Day
21: Forefathers Day
21: Humbug Day
21: National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day
21: Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day
21: World Peace Day/Winter Solstice
21: Yalda
21: Ann & Samantha Day
22: National Haiku Poetry Day
22: National Re-gifting Day
22: Yule
23: Festivus
24: Christmas Eve
25: A’Phabet Day or No ‘L’ Day
25: Christmas
26: Boxing Day
26: National Candy Cane Day
26: National Thank-you Note Day
26: National Whiner’s Day
28: Holy Innocents Day
28: National Chocolate Day
28: Pledge of Allegiance Day
29: Tick Tock Day
30: Bacon Day
30: Falling Needles Family Fest Day
31: Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
31: Make Up Your Mind Day
31: New Years Eve
31: No Interruptions Day
31: Universal Hour of Peace Day
31: World Peace Meditation Day
 

January

Monthly
Apple and Apricots Month
Artichoke and Asparagus Month
Bath Safety Month
Be Kind to Food Servers Month
Birth Defects Month
Book Blitz Month
California Dried Plum Digestive Month
Carnival Season
Celebration of Life Month
Cervical Cancer Screening Month
Financial Wellness Month
Get Organized Month
International Change Your Stars Month
International Creativity Month
International New Year’s Resolution Month for Business
International Quality of Life Month
International Wayfinding Month
International Wealth Mentality Month
National Be On-Purpose Month
National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month
National Clean Up Your Computer Month
National Get Organized Month
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
National Hot Tea Month
National Mail Order Gardening Month
National Mentoring Month
National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month
National Polka Music Month
National Poverty in America Awareness Month
National Radon Action Month
National Skating Month
National Soup Month
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
Oatmeal Month
Rising Star Month
Self-help Group Awareness Month
Self-Love Month
Shape Up US Month
Tubers and Dried Fruit Month
Thyroid Awareness Month
Weekly
Celebration of Life Week: 1-7
Diet Resolution Week:1-7
Silent Record Week: 1-7
National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week: 1-8
Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week: 2-8
New Year’s Resolutions Week: 2-8
Women’s Self Empowerment Week: 5-9
Universal Letter Writing Week: 8-14
Home Office Safety and Security Week: 8-14
National Vocation Awareness Week: 9-15
International Consumers Electronics Show: 10-13
Cuckoo Dancing Week: 11-17
National No-Tillage Week Conference: 11-14
National Soccer Coaches of America Week: 11-15
International Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week: 15-21
Healthy Weight Week: 15-21
International Printing Week: 16-22
National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week: 17-23
Week of Christian Unity: 18-25
Sundance Film Festival: 20-30
Bald Eagle Appreciation Days: 21-22
World Leprosy Week: 21-27
National Activity Professionals Week: 22-28
KidFilm Festival: 22-25
National Nurse Anesthetists Week: 22-28
Clean out your Inbox Week: 23-27
National Handwriting Analysis Week: 23-29
National Medical Group Practice Week: 23-27
No Name Calling Week: 23-27
National Take Back Your Time Week: 25-29
Catholic Schools Week: 30-2/5
Meat Week: 29-2/5
Intimate Apparel Week: 29-2/2
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week: 30-2/4
International Hoof Care Week: 31-2/3
Daily
1: New Years Day
1: New Year’s Dishonor List Day
1: Saint Basil’s Day
1: Z Day
1: Copyright Law Day
1: Ellis Island Day
1: Euro Day
1: First Foot Day
1: Mummer’s Parade
1: Polar Bear Plunge or Swim Day
2: Rose Bowl Game
2: “Thank God It’s Monday” Day
2: Tournament of Roses Parade Day
2: Happy Mew Year for Cats Day
2: National Motivation and Inspiration Day
2: National Personal Trainer Awareness Day
2: 55-MPH Speed Limit Day
3: Drinking Straw Day
3: J.R.R Tolkien Day
3: Memento Mori “Remember you Die” Day
3: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
4: Dimpled Chad Day
4: Earth at Perihelion
4: Pop Music Chart Day
4: Tom Thumb Day
4: Trivia Day
4: World Braille Day
4: World Hypnotism Day
5: Asara B’ Tevet
5: Bean Day
5: Bird Day
5: Elvis’ Birthday Celebration Day
6: Epiphany or Twelfth Night
6: Three Kings Day
7: Harlem Globetrotter’s Day
7: I’m not Going to Take it Anymore Day
7: International Programmers’ Day
7: Orthodox Christmas
8: Argyle Day
8: Bubble Bath Day
8: Earth’s Rotation Day
8: National English Toffee Day
8: Midwife’s Day or Women’s Day
8: National Joy Germ Day
8: Show and Tell Day at Work
8: War on poverty Day
9: Balloon Ascension Day
9: National Clean Off Your Desk Day
9: Panama’s Martyr Day
10: National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
10: United Nations Day
11: Cigarettes are Hazardous to Your Heath Day
13: Blame Someone Else Day
13: Friday the 13th
13: Public Radio Broadcasting Day
13: Rubber Duckie Day
14: Caesarean Section Day
14: Dress Up Your Pet Day
14: Organize Your Home Day
14: Ratification Day
14: Miss America Pageant
15: Humanitarian Day
15: Religious Freedom Day
16: Appreciate A Dragon Day
16: Martin Luther King Day
16: Nothing Day
16: Robert E. Lee Day
16: World Religion Day
17: Cable Car Day
17: Hot Heads Chili Days
17: Judgment Day
17: Kid Inventors’ Day
17: Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day
18: Do Dah Parade Day
18: Pooh (Winnie the Pooh) Day
18: Thesaurus Day
18: National Sanctity of Human Life Day (or Pro-Life Day)
19: Popcorn Day
19: Tin Can Day
19: Get to Know Your Customers Day
19-20: Women in Blue Jeans Day
19: Women’s Healthy Weight Day
20: Camcorder Day
20: Inauguration Day
20: National Disc Jockey Day
20: International Fetish Day
21: National Hugging Day
21: AFRMA Fancy Rat & Mouse Day
22: Answer Your Cats Questions Day
22: Celebration of Life Day
22: Roe vs. Wade Day
23: Chinese New Year
23: National Handwriting Day
23: National Pie Day
23: Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day
24: Belly Laugh Day
24: Beer Can Day
24: National Compliment Day
24: Rabi’I
24: Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day
25: A Room of One’s Own Day
25: Macintosh Computer Day
25: World Leprosy Day
26: Lotus 1-2-3 Day
26: National Peanut Brittle Day
26: Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement
27: Auschwitz Liberation Day
27: Holocaust Memorial Day
27: International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
27: National Preschool Fitness Day
27: Thomas Crapper Day
27: Viet Nam Peace Day
27: Fun at Work Day
28: Data Privacy Day
28: National Kazoo Day
28: National Seed Swap Day
28: Thank a Plugin Developer Day
29: Curmudgeons Day
29: Freethinkers Day
29: National Puzzle Day
29: Seeing Eye Dog Day
29: Thomas Paine Day
30: Inane Answering Message Day
30: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
31: Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day
31: Inspire Your Heart with Art Day
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