Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

What annoys an Internet user the most? A quick unscientific survey of a local Internet café suggests the top three turn-offs are:

– Sites that are very slow to download;
– Ones that are confusing to use;
– Sites that do not contain the promised information;

The single most common reaction to sites like these is that the visitor very quickly moves on to another web site. Clearly, if you get things wrong there is usually no second chance.

How can you avoid this happening to your business? Well, here are twenty tips to help you when designing or redesigning your company’s web site.

Start with a clear understanding of the purpose of your site.

Is the aim of your site to sell, entertain, or inform? The design of your site should be consistent with its purpose. The requirements for a site selling software online will be very different from say the web site of a local community newspaper.

Plan the site with the customer in mind.

Imagine how your customers (existing and prospects) will use your site. Consider their reasons for visiting and their needs. Something that looks logical to you may not appear so to a first-time visitor.

Design for cross-browser compatibility.

Although Internet Explorer dominates, do not overlook those people who use alternatives such as Mozilla, Opera and Netscape. Make sure your site can be viewed in other browsers; that way you will not unintentionally reduce the number of visitors to your site.

Choose simplicity over complexity.

Unless you are a design company showcasing its skills, keep things simple. Visitors (especially frequent ones) may not be impressed by your complex animated graphics especially if they serve no apparent useful purpose. Make it simple for visitors to get to the content – that is what most of them are coming to your site for anyway.

Make the navigation intuitive and easy to use.

This is probably one of the two most important aspects of designing a web site, the other being content. Make your site’s navigation logical and clear. Ensure the most important and most often-accessed information is easy to find. Link names should be concise and self-explanatory. Test navigational links to make sure they work and keep them up-to-date.

Your site should be as visually appealing as possible.

Visual appeal is subjective but the design of your site will undoubtedly influence customers’ perceptions of your business as a whole. An uncluttered layout, careful choice of font size and colors and appropriate use of graphics and images should go a long way to ensuring your site creates a good impression of your business.

Apply a consistent design or ’look and feel’ to your site.

Keep design consistent across your site unless you want your visitors to ask themselves whether they have wandered into another company’s site by accident.

Integrate your web site design with your offline branding.

For many, the Internet is still an alien environment so reassure your customers by applying the same branding online as you do offline. After all, if you have spent a lot of money building your brand why spend more appearing to build an entirely different online brand (unless, of course, this is your intention).

Keep page size manageable to ensure speedy downloads.

Online visitors’ patience is measured in milliseconds and not everyone has hi-speed or broadband Internet connections. So, keep page sizes within reasonable limits to ensure that they download quickly. Optimize graphic size and avoid putting an image on a page unless it adds something for the visitor.

By admin