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Secondary to content is actual design of your Web site. While user comes to your site specifically for information, they also will want to enter an area that is easy to use and visually appealing. Here are some usability tips regarding Web site design:
1. Avoid long load times. While latest technology for Web sites is incredibly interesting and fun, lots of graphics, Flash images, and audio can create long load times that make user wait. And, if customers have to wait too long, they may leave -- and never come back. As a guide, users will generally wait for a site to load for ten seconds before vacating.
2. Make your pages easy to read. A common error in Web usability is incessant need to create prettiest Web site that ever existed. We've all seen them - every color from Crayola box of 64 has made its mark on these pages. And, with a little bit of color usually comes a lot of cute little images that dance across your screen. In all seriousness, resist urge to do this. Not only will it hoard a lot of memory, but it will drive your users crazy. Black text on a white background is easiest to read. If you really want a colored background, stick with a lighter shade, but remember to use black text.
3. Create a well-organized site. Maintaining a consistent look and feel throughout your site is critical. The navigation you use on home page should be carried out throughout your Web site. Clear navigation can either make or break your site. You are basically providing your users with a road map to your products and services. Don't let them get lost along way.
4. Consider your space. Content should amount to 50-80% of your page design, with navigation taking up approximately 20% of space.
5. Stay consistent with design elements. Select one or two (maximum) fonts and stick with them throughout your site.
6. Have a secure and automated server. Amazingly only 20% of current Web sites are secure.
7. What can you do different? This is probably most important thing to remember when designing your site. Think about your business and your competition. What are you doing differently that will make users visit your site? Once you find out what that is -- whether you offer lowest prices, have a special widget that no one else sells, or have reputable customer service -- capitalize on that one thing by incorporating it in your design elements.
There are good sites on Internet and there are an equal number of bad sites (if not more!) out there. The good sites provide for a smooth user experience - easy navigation and easy-to-find information. The bad sites are slow to load, difficult to navigate and leave users frustrated before they can even get to information they initially needed. If you've already invested time and effort into developing a Web site, you should take a serious look at usability of your site. Here's an easy homework assignment: Some day, when you've got a few hours to spare, surf Internet and make note of sites you think are good and which ones drove you absolutely crazy. Investigate qualities of those sites and what made them good or bad. Pretty soon, you'll start to see some patterns that you can learn from and implement into your own usability strategy. Remember, usability is all about creating a unique and enlightening user experience. Usability is name of game -- isn't it time you started playing?
As Submit Todayís copywriter and editor, Kristy Meghreblian has written online content for many successful companies, including Monster.com. She has successfully combined her excellence in journalism with the delicate art of keyword density as it relates to search engine optimization. As a result, she has helped many Submit Today clients achieve top ranking. Submit Today is a leading search engine optimization, submission and ranking company located in Naples, Florida.