Top 10 misconceptions when talking about the ergonomics of a website

There are preconceived ideas when we talk about the ergonomics of a website. Some even die hard and it is still difficult to get rid of them. Focus on received ideas to quickly banish from your head.

1 – The sacrosanct rule of 3 clicks

We often hear it said: “On our website, all information must be accessible in less than 3 clicks”. If this rule was a reality in the past, it is no longer so today in ergonomics and it is outdated or obsolete. For what ? Already because it does not put itself in the place of the Internet user and an Internet user never leaves a site because he has clicked too many times. He does it because he can’t find what he’s looking for. However, this rule can complicate navigation (too much information on the same page, risk of errors)

2 – The tests must be done by children

We often think that a good site is a site which, if it can be used by “my grandmother, will work for everyone”. We believe we take Internet users into account by putting ourselves in their place or by replacing them with a stereotype. However, the ergonomic approach consists in knowing YOUR Internet users, those who will go to the site. There are then two negative trends. That of underestimation (but this approach can be counter-productive because the site risks being too guided and therefore too slow to use) and overestimation (for example when the logo is the only way to return to the welcome and we think that they will learn: This is wrong!)

3 – Ergonomics and design are sworn enemies

We often hear that ergonomics kills design or that design ruins ergonomic quality. This is false since the interface of a website is a mix of the two. The ergonomic structure actually facilitates navigation and design, in addition to bringing a notion of pleasure and satisfaction. The most important thing in a website is to make it a site that appeals to Internet users in every way (which is useful and usable, but also that it is appreciated by the Internet user). The design makes it possible to provide a visual hierarchy (color, shapes, breathing zones, etc.) and determines the perception of ease of use.

4 – No need for tests, we focus on groups

Some believe that group focus is an effective replacement for user testing. If the focus group is a collective method based on questions and subjective opinions, it therefore only gives a subjective assessment of the opinion of several users. The user test which consists in observing the behavior on the navigation is more objective, because it is the real behavior of the users. It therefore generally proves to be more effective and makes it possible to adopt ergonomics based on real behavior rather than on opinions.

5 – Make a 100% ergonomic site

We sometimes hear that it is possible to make a site 100% ergonomic. The idea is attractive but false because an ergonomic site is concerned about its Internet users, not in speech, but in action. Implement usability methods to maximize quality. In summary, ergonomics takes into account the needs and well-being of Internet users.

6 – Internet users read in F (in Z, E, etc.)

Who hasn’t heard it? Some organize the pages in this way to respect the direction of reading that they have determined. However, there is no direction of reading inscribed in our cerebral automatisms: everything that conditions the reflexes of reading and browsing a page is linked to the habits and content of the page. It is therefore the pages which produce a reading in F and not the Internet users who have such a reading as a basis. The way of reading will be influenced by the appearance of the site and the animations, for example, which influence the visual journey.

7 – Ergonomics is just common sense

Some think that it is enough to have a minimum of common sense to make an ergonomic site. However, ergonomics requires time to think in a way centered on the user (for this it is necessary to determine its target), to know the basic principles and to have experience, to adopt good habits in terms of design and ergonomics requires specific expertise (analysis, card sorting, user testing, etc.).

8 – We will do it in HTML 5, Ajax, etc…

The use of given concepts or technologies would have an influence on the ergonomic quality of websites, according to some sites. However, talking about technique when talking about ergonomics is a serious mistake! Ergonomics standards and goals remain the same, regardless of technology. It is not technology that can determine the usability of a site. It must therefore be completely detached from it.

9 – Internet users do not scroll

Who hasn’t heard that Internet users don’t like to scroll down the page? Today in a content page, you can scroll and it is even recommended! In a navigating or transactional page, this is also possible in two cases: one where it is adapted to the needs of persona (target customers) in functional terms or if the content below the scroll threshold is secondary. The main thing is to properly prioritize the information and that the most important information is in the bar above the screen (waterline). The main thing to remember is that the main information must be found at the beginning, and the secondary data must be found later, later.

10 – For ergonomics, we will see at the end

For some, ergonomics represents the final touch and he considers that it is a component independent of other professions (design, marketing, referencing, etc.). However, ergonomic issues must be constantly considered. This means that from the beginning of our project, we must take these issues into consideration because ergonomics influences the entire device. Late changes cost time, labor and money. It must therefore imperatively remain in mind from the start but also throughout the project in the form of tests, models, user tests, etc. …

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