ec Newsletter #7
Gudday from Gisborne,
This E-C Newsletter is the second of a three part series covering some of the basics every web site needs to know.
Last newsletter we covered "Search Engine Optimisation" - this Newsletter covers "Web Usability" and finally next newsletter will cover "Calls to Action" for a web site project
The motivation for this is that we lost two pitches over the last month or so to other design companies - because the marketing people in charge of the projects thought the other designers gave "prettier" layouts.
The marketing people in charge of the projects got caught up in "looks" make the web project not the "outcomes" or reasons for having a web site.
As most of you hopefully know we are focused primarily on the outcomes from any project - just what do you want the project to achieve - rather than making something that looks pretty that doesn't work.
The other designers that we lost the work too don't know much about our "Back to the Basics" three topics - so I was thinking it's time we all had a refresher...!
Back to Basics Part 2 - Web Usability
Web Usability is all about getting people who visit your web site to the information that they seek - quickly and easily.
There's not point in having a great web site that has great content if visitors are not getting to it - and even more importantly for a web site that has some kind of ordering mechanism - we need to get visitors through the process to get income from them.
Web Usability is tied to content - it's the content that attracts visitors via Search Engines (see last Newsletter) and that answers the questions that visitors have.
A web visitor arrives at a new site after initiating the process - that is they have done one of three things to arrive at the web site - they have either typed a search term into a search engine; followed a link from another web site or email or typed the domain name into the address bar of the browser.
In each of these three ways of a visitor arriving at the web site they arrive with the expectation of finding the answer to their question - where do I buy...? Who can I buy from...? How do I use this item better…? How do I take my pain away...?
We need to get them to the answer through better usability.
After doing a search the visitor may land on a page other than your home page - this is what good SEO (see last month) led us to - every page of your web site could be the first page that people see.
The E-C Toolset gives you several mechanism's to let the user get an idea of where they are within the main web site structure - these are Sitemaps, Breadcrumb trails as well as the usual side and bottom navigation.
Different Interactive Style:
Great web sites provide pathways to the information that visitors seek - in the preferred interactive style of the visitor.
This means that some of your site visitors really like sitemaps - some prefer using the side or top navigation menus - others will arrive at a new site and use the search box to find the answer to their questions.
Good web sites allow for all of the possible interactive styles - not just the preference of the site owner or web designer.
In Content Links:
As we saw last newsletter many of the leading search engine like it when the link text (that highlighted part of the clickable link) is used to describe the page. Some web site visitors also enjoy reading the content and being able to "drill down" to another level of information.
The Web as an Entire Entity:
No one sees a single web site in isolation from any other web sites. This means that as people use the internet more they get used to the way that all web sites work.
So standards are already being recognised - from a design point of view is we choose to not follow them then the cost could be reduced usability.
This can be as simple as making sure that all links are underlined (the "default" standard) and underlines are never used on the web pages.
I'm colour blind and every so often I arrive at a web site that I just can't use as the links are the same colour as the background or they don't have enough contrast for me to use them.
Visually impaired people use a Braille reader to "speak" the web site so that they can access the information or older visitors have the text size enlarged as a default so that they can ready the text easily. In both cases the web designer can "turn-off" the ability for this to actually work on a project which is a negative for those visitors that rely on the tools to access the site.
The E-C Toolset provides an easy way for all content on a web page to be printed without using the web browsers built-in print feature. This is really good to remove extra images of the layout of the page and just include the important content.
Many designers don't think of this...
End Feature Article
Here's one of the leading web sites on the web that talks about Web Usability - http://www.surl.org/usabilitynews/archives.asp
It's the Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL) at Wichita State University - very well worth signing up for their free email newsletter!
Have you seen the E-C Help section lately...? It is available at www.ectoolset.com/help/
We've also archived these newsletters at www.ectoolset.com/news/
|Look out for: We'll be launching a new e-community portal for our customers where I'll post new article content as well as useful links, eBooks and ultimately training videos too.
Here's a great book about Adwords - one of the better ones I've found you can download it from the links at top right of www.RussellSays.com
That's it for now - please do let us know what you think of the newsletter - and of the e-c toolset and thanks for your business...!
Cheers and thanks again