Website Design

The Best Websites Allow Users to be Lazy

The Desiree Team
June 9, 2023
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"E-commerce sites lose almost half of their potential sales because users cannot use the site. In other words, with better usability, the average site could increase its current sales by 79%." 
"E-commerce sites lose almost half of their potential sales because users cannot use the site. In other words, with better usability, the average site could increase its current sales by 79%." 


These words by renowned usability expert Jakob Nielsen hold true when it comes to designing effective websites. One such example is Zara's website, which faces significant usability challenges despite its success as a fashion retailer. By analysing usability review insights, conducting a competitive analysis, and delving into user research, we can gain valuable insights into the issues that hinder Zara's website from providing an optimal user experience.

Quirky Aesthetic and its Implications

Zara's unique marketing tactic of using quirky product images has garnered attention and sparked conversation. However, this unconventional approach has its drawbacks. Many shoppers have expressed confusion due to the unusual imagery, which might fail to convey product details effectively. Consequently, users may face difficulties making informed purchasing decisions, potentially impacting sales.

User reactions to Zara's unique use of imagery

Poor Usability: A Classic Example

Zara's website presents classic examples of poor usability that hinder the user experience. Hidden navigation elements, such as the hamburger menu, can make it less intuitive for users to explore different website sections. Inconsistent labelling, mainly when arrow buttons in the carousel share the same text labels as primary navigation, further confuses users. Additionally, the browsing experience can be cumbersome, with challenges in refining searches, filtering options, and finding specific categories. These usability issues impede users' ability to navigate the site efficiently, leading to frustration and potentially lost sales.

Accessibility Concerns

Zara's website also falls short in terms of accessibility. Violations of Jakob's Law, such as texts in all caps and using low contrast colours for small-sized fonts, pose barriers for users with visual impairments. These design choices make it challenging for individuals to read and comprehend the content, excluding a portion of potential customers and hindering their overall experience on the website.

A Comparative Analysis: H&M's Advantage

In a competitive analysis between Zara and its main competitor, H&M, the findings highlight Zara's website's subpar usability. On the other hand, users generally prefer H&M's website due to its superior user-friendliness and better overall user experience. The discrepancy in usability ratings further emphasises the need for Zara to address its usability challenges to remain competitive in the online fashion retail landscape.

Compared to Zara’s main competitor, H&M, Zara’s website scored average and poor on usability.

User Research Validates Frustrations

Feedback obtained through user research solidifies the frustrations associated with Zara's website. Participants reported difficulties navigating the site and locating desired products or sections. The unconventional and confusing product images were also identified as a common pain point, hindering users' ability to assess products accurately. Moreover, the challenge of reading texts and comprehending information added to the user experience woes, potentially leading to missed sales opportunities.

Lessons Learned: Striving for User-Centric Design

When designing a website, the focus is often on creating visually stunning designs. However, a truly great website goes beyond aesthetics and focuses on providing a seamless user experience. The best websites make it effortless for users to navigate and find what they need without exerting excessive effort. In comes the concept of designing sites that enable users to be lazy. Creating websites that allow users to be lazy is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and a user-centric mindset. Here are the key lessons we can learn from this concept:

1) Keep it Simple

Simplicity is vital when it comes to designing a user-friendly website. An overwhelming amount of information, images, or buttons can confuse and frustrate users. Using a clean and minimal design, you can highlight essential information and create a pleasant browsing experience. Streamlining your website's content will allow users to quickly find what they are looking for without feeling overwhelmed.

2) Use Clear Navigation

Navigation plays a pivotal role on your website. An intuitive navigation system is essential for a user-friendly experience. Ensure your navigation is straightforward, easy to understand, and consistent across all pages. Intuitive labels, a logical hierarchy, and a clear layout will empower users to explore your website effortlessly.

3) Optimise Load Times

In a fast-paced digital world, users have little patience for slow-loading websites. Therefore, optimising your website's load times is crucial to preventing users from bouncing away. Minimise file sizes, use optimised images, and compress code to ensure a speedy and responsive website. By prioritising performance, you create an environment that respects the user's time and encourages them to engage with your content.

4) Provide Search Functionality

A search bar can be a game-changer for users with a specific query or need. Incorporate a prominently displayed search bar that is easy to use and provides accurate results. A well-implemented search functionality saves users time and effort by quickly delivering the information they seek. Additionally, consider enhancing your search feature with auto-suggestions and filters to refine search results further.

5) Make Use of White Space

White space, the space surrounding design elements, can significantly impact user experience. Thoughtful utilisation of white space allows users to focus on the actual content and improves readability. By strategically guiding the user's eye, you make it easier for them to find crucial information and navigate your website effortlessly. Embrace the power of white space to enhance user engagement.

Empowering Users for Seamless Interactions

In a digital landscape inundated with information and choices, the best websites empower users to be lazy in a positive sense. While aesthetics play a role in website design, ease of use and simplicity differentiate unique websites. By prioritising usability, clarity, and user-centric design, you create an environment where users can effortlessly navigate, find information, and achieve their goals. Jakob Nielsen's quote reminds us that better usability translates into increased sales and improved business outcomes. So, embrace the user-centric design philosophy, constantly strive for enhancements, and create websites that allow users to be lazy while delivering a remarkable online experience.


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