When viewers first arrive at a website, what is their initial impression of it? As they navigate around, will their opinion change due to functionality and ease of use? While some websites can be beautiful at first glance, they could turn off viewers because of long load times and difficulty finding, using, or understanding the navigation buttons. Overall ease of use of a website is very important to keep viewers on your site, especially for websites geared toward users in the industry rather than general consumers. Imagine a general beverage manager of a hotel chain browsing a site for basic information on a spirit. Upon arrival, he gets deluged with gigantic graphics and floating buttons that have to be caught, all attributing to a longer wait time. Result: there is a good chance this general manager gets frustrated with the site and never visits it again.
Points of a good website:
Speed – Long load time can be frustrating to viewers.
- Ex: Flash can be beautiful but be aware of the amount of time it needs.
Usability – Clear, easy to use navigation.
Visuals – Interesting visuals that do not interfere with functionality; too many visuals can cause clutter and lead to confusion.
- Ex: Excessive use of irrelevant tables, frames, advertising, animated images.
Compatibility – Not everyone has the same type of browser, computer, and internet access speed.
- Tips: Test your site to make sure it is usable and as backwards-compatible as possible, to fit all versions of software.
- Browsers: Internet Explorer (most common) and Firefox are the most used.
- Screen Resolution: Can range from 800 x 600 (smallest) to 1024 x 768 (most common), and up from there.
Audience – Offer content pertinent to the type of user you wish to attract.
Professionalism – Check and double check spelling and the information offered on your site.
Stability – Again, test your website thoroughly to make sure all pages are working at launch, and then revisit it often to ensure stability.
Remember in today’s world, the internet, cell phones, and various electronic devices have conditioned us to expect instant results. If your site is slow or confusing to use, it will turn the viewer off in a nanosecond. As far as visuals are concerned, what can be glamorous in concept or on paper is a whole different beast when implemented on the web. Our site, inthemixmagazine.com is an example of a website that’s been developed with all these points in mind. It may not be perfect but we work hard to make sure it’s close!
Written By: Hailing Li