Any time I surf the Net looking for inspiration for web design in St. Petersburg, I’m constantly taking note of, and bookmarking well designed and easy to navigate websites. Forget about content for a moment, I’m talking about how someone gets through a website. How the website leads a user down the intended path, whether that path leads to purchase, to contacting the company for more information, or to scheduling an appointment.
Here in St. Pete, I find a lot of websites don’t do this very well. I’ve been reading a number of academic studies regarding commercial website functionality and what attracts consumers, and there are a few very basic things designers and clients need to keep in mind;
Site users benefit from finding information in a context that adds value in and of itself. Users continually associate enjoyment with information utility. Effective websites demonstrate a productive intersection of information and entertainment. Give your costumers something nice to look at. If your site is ugly, you have already lost me, and my business.
People are guided by ideas that make sense in terms of the strategic purpose of the website. The best looking websites and websites that receive the most traffic are based on a metaphorical structure that shows users the way in, and to recognize and realize the informational value of the site. Yes, we know that the most important thing to YOU is to tell everyone all about yourself or your company. But is that the purpose or intent of your website?
Website visitors are attracted to efficient designs. This is the tried-and-true KISS approach, keep it simple. Your site visitors don’t have all day to dig for what they need, and your competitor is just a click away. Ease of use is vital. Keep it organized and categorize. Get to the point.
Follow these three rules and you’ll be well on your way to designing better websites.
–Jeremy Curtis (St. Pete Design)