Microsoft has finally announced what internet users have seen coming for years – Internet Explorer will have support removed from August 2021. Its replacement will be Microsoft Edge, which uses similar software developed by Google Chrome, their main rival. Internet Explorer has often been the butt of jokes for its lack of intuitiveness and the difficult-to-use interface suggesting that, had it matched Google Chrome’s sleek design and intuitive search engine functions, it could have proved to be a real competitor. That asks the question, just how important is user interface for technology to survive?
How Important is Usability?
Usability is one of the most important factors for businesses when developing themselves in digital spaces. Indeed, a site could contain a wealth of interesting information and a catalogue of affordable products people may like, but if the site is hard to navigate, people will click off. According to HubSpot, 39% of users will click off a website if it takes too long to load, while 38% won’t engage if the layout is unattractive.
This represents a third of potential customers, which could be important going forwards. User interface doesn’t just reflect the speed of the site or the ease of navigating the layout, but the overall feeling towards the website that can be defined through its serviceability.
Usability as a Differential Factor
Offering an instinctive interface can be used as a bargaining chip by a company who might have a lot of competitors and whose points of differentiation are more nuanced. For example, CasinoMarket analyses the best online casino sites, showing that potential customers have many factors to consider before choosing a site. One of these is the usability factor of the sites.
This includes the ability to play on both desktop and mobile, as well as the customer support facilities available should an issue occur. The industry is not only focusing on the games they offer players, but increasingly on how easy it is for players to use the site.
Usability and Social Media
Social media increased its presence when more people had smartphones that allowed us to access sites through apps. Before then, the interface on the browser for social media was clunky and not as sleek as the desktop versions. Indeed, some criticize current social media for its interface issues.
Instagram, for instance, removed the ability to see content chronologically and resorted to an algorithm instead, which meant sometimes users were subjected to content posted days ago. Although Instagram keeps suggesting that they may bring chronological order back, according to The Independent.
User interface and usability are incredibly important for digital businesses. The difficulty with using Internet Explorer compared to the sleek and refined Google Chrome is a cautionary tale to other businesses. While Google was also able to storm ahead with its search results function – and Microsoft can survive without Internet Explorer anyway – other businesses may not be as lucky and may be overlooked purely for their bad user interface. Ultimately, the layout and navigability of a site are incredibly important for users.