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Of course you want your website to stand out among others with creatives colors, graphics, and information, but it is always important that you do not stray too far away from what people expect to see on a website. Customers are very particular about what they feel comfortable doing and seeing while visiting a website. It is often a challenge for the graphic designer, programmers, and sales administration to combine their elements of focus together and keep the site usable. It may be necessary from time to time to stifle some creativity to keep the customers comfortable and coming back time and time again.

The following is a list of guidelines that we will use to judge your website for usability. Each piece of criteria is followed by a brief explanation as to why it is important for your site. Certain features may automatically gain or lose points for your overall score.

Can visitors find their way around the site with useful links?

• Try to steer clear of multiple links on the same page that send visitors to the same place, this could lead them in circles. (-1 point)
• Visitors should be able to easily get back to the home page no matter where they are in the site. An active link on the logo or a prominent "home" link should be on every page. (+1 point)
• Your links should allow visitors to know in advance what they will likely see on the next page. Keep it simple!
• When the amount information warrants a scroll bar, it can be helpful to include "back to top" links and reference links to certain points on the page. (+1 point)

Have you provided visitors with "bread crumbs" to get back to pages previously visited without using the "back" button?

• Whether you use persistant navigation or a simple script, customers should be able to find their way back to pages that they have just visited. (+1 point)
• A "frequently asked questions" or "help" is an added convenience to inexperienced visitors. It will help to make them feel more comfortable at your page. It may be wise to include an email link to someone who can answer questions. (+1 point)

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