Make Your Web Site User-Friendly
By James Capobianco
can create a website that attracts customers, not repels them,
with a little common sense advice.
Everyone wants an attractive
professional looking website. But too often businesses think they need
a GLITZY site with all the bells and whistles when what they really
need is a functional site that attracts customers.
Creating a user-friendly website
doesn't require a lot of money or a staff of professional, high priced,
designers. If fact, they can be the very thing that leads you to go
All you really need
to know is what your customer wants and how to deliver it in a way that
even a first-time visitor can understand.
How do you know what your
customers want? Listen! Keep track of the questions they ask when they
visit or call. Then make sure those questions are answered right on
Since the web uses hypertext,
it connects to information in many different ways. Unlike a library,
where a book just sits on a shelf, a website should allow pages to be
accessed the way users think about information.
You will have a better site
when it is designed to support flexible human behavior and not just
one path for people to follow.
Visitors will not stick around
for slow overloaded sites, that might have looked good but just aren't
worth the wait. Remember that for the next few years, most users will
access the Internet through slow modems. So web page design that addresses
the needs of the masses, has a better chance to be seen and appreciated.
Your pages must download quickly,
or users may not only, not follow the links, but may also have trouble
navigating the site. People are more likely to get lost on slow sites
than fast ones and more likely to leave and not return.
Even on the Internet, it's
true that buyers want to see what they are buying; but over loading
a page with slow loading images of products can be a big mistake. You
would be better off with small (thumbnail) images and follow with larger
images on succeeding pages.
Text downloads faster than
graphics; but it is important to minimize the words on a page as well.
Research on how people read online shows "They don't". They
tend to scan. Users prefer concise text that's easy to scan, with a
liberal use of highlighted words, bulleted lists and sub-headings.
Users would rather have the
"facts" than the "fluff"! The average user will
probably only spend a few seconds on your home page deciding whether
it's worth their time to go further or go on to the other 10 million
sites on the Web.
If you make users wait to
long, they leave. If you confuse them, they leave. If your site is too
wordy, they leave. However, if your site is easy to use and is full
of useful content, they stay.
Remember, anybody can put
up a website. But companies that put up a user-friendly site get the
James Capobianco has been self-employed for over 25 years, both on and offline. At his web site, Cap-Tech.com,
he shares his experience and expertise when it comes to owning your own business. Come pay a visit at:
[ICBS Knowledgebase Home]