Think about the websites you visit on a regular basis. What is it about those sites that compels you to bookmark them and return often?
Is it the way they look?
Is the content interesting and the text on the page is easy to read?
Are the products and information you’re looking for easy to find?
Usually it’s all of those factors working together to make your experience on the site a fruitful one. Effective websites have many factors in common. Such as:
- Appealing Appearance
- Easy to navigate
- Accessible to visitors
- Understandable Content
- Functional Elements
The first thing visitors notice about a website is how it looks. If the colors clash and text blinks and flashes, more than likely, visitors click away fast. Color goes a long way in setting the tone of your site, and an appropriate color scheme will compliment your company’s message without overriding it. Historically, the rule of thumb was to keep the colors on a page limited to no more than three.
And don’t underestimate (or overuse) the power of pictures. Well placed and well chosen graphics can also highlight your company’s message as well as give readers a momentary break from long passages of text.
Visitors should be able to find the information they’re looking for in very few “clicks.” How often have you been annoyed because you expected to find something by clicking on a button or link only to find that you were directed to click on yet another button or link?
Website navigation shouldn’t be a mystery. Instead, visitors should be presented with very clear indicators of where to find the information they are looking for.
Web sites should be accessible to all visitors; including those with visual and hearing impairments. Section 508 (Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â§1194.22) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments, 1998 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, 1999 set forth standards that need to be met for site accessibility.
Web sites and designers should endeavor to present the site in an accessible format or provide an alternative, accessible way to view the information presented. For example, if you provide video or audio clips on your site, you should provide text-based transcripts for your hearing impaired visitors.
Long passages of text are hard to read in printed material and even harder to read on a computer screen. Keep your content concise and add plenty of white space and line breaks to give your readers “breathing room.”
Also, read your website often and update the information regularly. Keeping the information fresh and up to date means visitors will return more often to see what you have to offer.
Above all, your website must function well. Nothing is more annoying to a visitor than clicking on a link only to be met with a “This page cannot be displayed” message. Links, images, forms, etc. should always work. If your visitor can’t use the elements on your website, they may decide not to use your company!
Still have questions about creating a great website? Call us at 1-888-863-3033 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you establish a professional, functional and accessible web presence.
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