Website Design and Usability
Ultimately, Buying Customers Should Design Your Site.
So, what really makes a website beautiful? To me….
- It brings new business on a regular basis.
- It supports the growth goals of your organization.
- It satisfies existing customers’ needs.
- You know that visitors become customers.
Substance and Meaning Keep Your Site Healthy
The way I see most businesses waste money is by wasting time. I see them shopping for web designers based on their visual portfolio and then, a few month’s later with fancy flash-enhanced custom site in hand, they start asking for results. It’s a bit like eating dessert first.
This is a natural tendency. It’s easier to get your arms around something you can see. “What, exactly, am I buying?” is a sensible question, but if the answer is to point at a screen shot with pretty graphics, be skeptical.
Form Equals Function
What I mean here is that you don’t start designing until you have the basic functions well understood. Functional concerns include items like:
- USEFUL content, such as package tracking, owner’s manuals, etc.
- Paths through the site for someone in a hurry
- Paths through the site for the in-depth reader
- How the search engines will see your site
- At each step in your site, is it easy to determine the next step?
- How well do your pages work if a visitor never sees your home page?
- Is the site fast and responsive?
- Are your font choices easy to read for all ages?
Customers Prefer Simplicity
“If you must offer a ‘skip intro’ option, shouldn’t your better judgment kick in?” asked Anna Murray, President e*media inc., during a panel on Marketing to Women at the recent AD:TECH conference.
On October 29th, Murray ran a poll garnering responses from 579 consumers voting for their favorite of two home page variations for “Acme Haircare”. One version started with a Flash intro, the other was static HTML. (Link to Original survey Note: $79. )
80% of respondents voted for the site *without* a Flash intro.