User Friendly Web Design

All successful web sites are also easy to use. Here’s food for thought:
People don’t visit many web pages. When they do visit a page, they decide what to do in less that three seconds. If they can’t figure out the site, what it’s about, where to click, they hit the Back button, and they are gone.

How people really use your site.
They scan the page, looking for headlines, graphics, links, and anything that looks interesting.

Make it about them.
Make your site all about your visitors. Give them useful information, in a straightforward manner. They don’t necessarily care about the same things you do, so make sure it’s all about them and their needs. It might be helpful to develop some personas.
With an ecommerce site, visitors to your site will usually fall into the following groups:
1) They are ready to buy, have credit card in hand, and are shopping
2) They are early in the sales process and are looking for more information
3) They are not potential buyers, just looking for information
4) They stumbled into your website by accident

Simple navigation.
Make your navigation scheme as simple as possible, and keep it the same throughout the site. We don’t recommend using graphic buttons, image maps, or dropdown or javascript menu rollovers.Keep it simple. Don’t use mystery meat navigation. And, repeat your navigational links in both the content and on the bottom of each page. Give your visitors more than one way to navigate through your site.

Make it obvious.
In three seconds, visitors should be able to determine:
A) What your site is about
B) The navigation scheme
C) Where to find information
D) Where to click

For more information about how your website should be designed, read an interview with Steve Krug, useability expert.

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