Almost Perfect Websites

.... AND THE FRUSTRATION THEY CAUSE WITH THEIR NEAR-AWESOMENESS.

I do a lot of web surfing and if something catches my eye at a show, in a brochure at the fish & chip shop, in a magazine or newspaper, or something mentioned on TV or in conversation, I'll note down the business/product/service in a notebook or on my phone and look it up later, as most of us nowadays do.

What I struggle with, both as a designer and a website surfer, is the almost perfect website.

frustration_cartoon

I'm not going to mention any specific examples, even though in many cases I am dying to flick them a quick email to say "your website would be sooo much more user-friendly if you'd just.....". It is simply my hope that some will read this and think - Yes! It would be better if my website did that! Let's make that happen.

A lot of these things are not large and costly changes, just simple adjustments to the layout, or adding programming to adjust the behaviour of a website feature. Often enough a website just needs to be recognised as the important business asset that it is, and gain the attention that it deserves, to update content, add QUALITY images and keep the site interesting and easy to use.

 

  • CAN YOU add and change your own content on your website?
  • ARE YOU paying your website company to make ALL website changes for you?
  • WOULD YOU like a website in a Content Management System (CMS) that has been created specifically to be Client-Friendly? Allowing you to make your own changes, add pages and update your website at your convenience and at no extra cost?

If the answer is YES - take a look at our own in-house CMS System WEB EDIT PRO. As this is a system we have created, it is different to the publicly available CMS systems used by a lot of website companies today. Web Edit Pro has been created specifically for Client-use, rather than Programmer-use so it is very user friendly as opposed to systems such as Wordpress, Silverstripe and Joomla! A main benefit of our system is that there is less risk of it being hacked, such as what the publicly available systems face. It's a frightening fact that if a system is hacked it effects every website that runs on it, as what happened to OS Commerce in 2011. Do your know what CMS system your website runs on?

The Points of Frustration of Almost Perfect Websites TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE :

  1. CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE - opens the same size image in a pop-up box. Very frustrating. When we click for a larger image, we want to see a larger image. If there isn't one - remove this feature.
  2. IMAGE SCROLLING - often when you click for a larger image you can scroll through the rest of the images at this larger size. Great anti-frustration feature!
  3. LIMITED IMAGES - if you only display x8 images per page, then I have to click 'next', or 'page 2' to see more, it's frustrating. Sites work great when they display all images at once so all that's required is to scroll down. Some sites have a drop-down option to "display x20 images per page" or "display x200 images per page" which is awesome.
  4. NO NAVIGATION ON SOME PAGES - web surfers expect to see the full site navigation on every page, if we can't we can feel 'lost'. You can have the main page buttons on every page, or even simple text links as a header or footer on other pages works great!
  5. ALTERED PAGE NAMES - "home base" or "website HQ" as alternative names for your 'home page' is clever... but we don't want clever on our navigation - we want instantly recognisable and relevant! Keep it simple with standard page names.
  6. NAVIGATION THAT MOVES - it's a small detail but navigation that is in a different place on each page is frustrating. For example viewing a gallery of images but having to shift the mouse slightly to click the next button on each image makes me grind my teeth. It's not hard to ensure that when you are viewing images in a box, that the box and 'next' arrows stay in the same place for each image, even if the image dimensions change slightly.
  7. CONTACT PAGE MISSING INFORMATION - we've spent time finding your website only to find that the standard information we want is not there. Frustrating? Heck yeah. Contact pages should ideally contain the following ;
    • Phone number + cellphone if available
    • Email address
    • Physical address + map
    • A photo of your premises - goes a long way to making visitors feel confident they can find you.
    • Opening hours / hours of availability
    • A Contact Form
    • Link to signup to your newsletter. Click for info on our ActiveMail Newsletter System.
  8. A LINK OR NOT A LINK, THAT IS THE QUESTION - Links need to be obvious. Use a button graphic or box frame, underlining links also helps. Additionally any text links in your content (very helpful to have) should be a different colour and perhaps be underlined. Use a well-known method of making a link look and behave like a link. It's doesn't need to be pretty, but it does need to be pretty obvious.
  9. PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS - I look through lots of galleries and see images that aren't worthy of what I know to be the exceptional quality of what is actually produced! Or not enough images! Never underestimate the importance of photos on your website as surfers are far more likely to judge your website on the power of your images alone, simply because it's the fastest way to view what you represent, and the internet is all about making information easier and faster to access!
  10. WRITTEN CONTENT - A lot of sites I come across don't offer content that does the business justice, and that's nobody's fault - after all we can't all be professional writers. Read through your content to ensure it's relevant and update regularly if possible. We offer a Content Writing Service if you need to enhance your business information with keyword-rich content from our experience content writing expert... me! What I do is basically do a casual interview-type discussion either over the phone or in person, to gain content for the specific pages / topics you wish to feature. It's a hassle-free way to get effective website content to advertise you to both web surfers and internet search engines alike.
  11. HAVING AN "ABOUT US" PAGE - A surprising number of websites don't write about themselves! They're missing out! An 'about us' page is a great way of showcasing your business legitimacy - showing how much experience you have in your industry, perhaps mentioning staff if you don't have a 'team page', and telling the story of how you got to be where you are now.

 So to sum up, here's some brief key points of how to lessen frustration for website visitors like me ;

  • If a feature doesn't do what it's supposed to - remove it.
  • The less clicks the better. No matter what information a viewer may want to see on your site, make the amount of clicks that they have to click to get there be a maximum of 3. The more clicks, the more likely your viewer will get frustrated and leave your website.
  • Keep the template and navigation standard and the design innovative and original, not the other way around.
  • Lock the navigation into the same place on all your website pages.

As always, feel free to CONTACT US for any more information or to discuss how we can enhance your website.

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Posted in Website Design