Whether you have a Calgary Web site or are looking to start a web presence in Calgary or anywhere else around the globe , you will need to understand these critical 10 web design usability issues:
1. Good Impressions Last
Studies have shown that the human eye generally reads a webpage in an “F” pattern, from top left to right. Therefore, the hottest real estate on your business website is the top left area. Post your critical info there, especially your corporate logo. The only exception to this may be to center the logo in the top area if the logo is symmetrical. Overall, your website needs to create a great first impression and establish confidence and trust in your visitor. Your Web design should not outshine or overwhelm content or branding on any page, including the home page.
2. Good Navigation is Key
It is ideal to have consistent and universal navigation on your web site . This means having a menu that can access all pages at any time . This makes it easy for users to find the information that they need quickly and smoothly and also maintains confidence in their experience with your company. Having supporting menus such as breadcrumbs or contextual “previous” and “next” buttons or links to related items will reinforce your web presence ’s overall usability. Consistency is critical , and remember that navigation, such as text links and a site map, is also used by search engine robots when indexing your web site pages for their search results.
3. Make it Easy to Contact You
Make it easy for visitors to contact you by displaying your Calgary office address or phone number clearly on all pages of your web site , or at least on your key pages. You can also have a contact us page that has details , such as different branches, key contacts or a contact us form. These days it is also common to see live chat options so a visitor can connect with your staff as they surf!
4. Get Visitors to Act on Something
Even if it is just to lead a visitor to call your office , a website needs a “Call to Action” – this is something that is defined by a combination of site navigation, content generation and site functionality, including e-commerce processing. What do you want visitors to do on your site? Where do you want them to go? What is the next step once they have found your site ? Is it to call you? Buy a product online or learn something ? Or perhaps pass on information to a co-worker in the form of podcast or pre-recorded video.
5. Keep it Above the Fold
Keep the key information you NEED them to see in the top area of your website , above the fold where someone has to scroll down to read more . This is why logos, menus and the main calls to action appear in the top part of the site design – they need to be top of mind and easy to see , without the viewer having to scroll down the page to find the web content they want . Of course, when detailed information is needed pages can be quite long and still flow well , however, consider using a PDF document for more archived items and content , as it keeps the actual Web page shorter and more manageable , plus you can brand your PDFs as a source of viral marketing, with Web links back to your home page on your website . Google and other search engines also index PDFs similar to Web pages, so your PDFs will also turn up in the search engine results.
6. Web Content as a Relationship Builder
A relationship is an ongoing commitment from both sides, it is not a one way street. While the visitor is looking for a product or information, your Calgary business is looking for that potential lead and the sale they bring – and as it has been said, it is so much easier to sell to someone who has already bought from you before. So, when I say “offers a return” I mean it’s a return for both sides, the returning customer finds ongoing value in your offers and you retain them as a repeat customer . So keep content fresh , updated and consider adding a blog or Content Management System to your business Web site.
7. Keep Content Organized
Organize your site so the visitor can easily flow from one web page to the next. Make sure that information is prioritized in a hierarchy of need (both for them and you) and provide the information or product to them as efficiently as possible. Consider the home page as the gateway to the site and lead the visitor to what you can offer them (e.g. latest deals, latest information package, latest blog entry, etc.) and then give it to them. Ensure that every web page follows a consistent layout for navigation and branding and that the content area is organized in a clean manner so the design elements of the site does not interfere with content delivery.
8. Appearance Matters
A website ’s impression is made not only by what is included in the web site, but what is left out. Bypass banner ads, third party advertising, non-interactive flash animation and overt colour schemes that blatantly fight for the visitor’s attention. Visitors are generally looking for one thing on your site, so make it easy to find by keeping the structure and layout of the site simple, clean and direct.
9. Trust & Security
10. Polish to a Shine
Errors happen, it is technology after all, and while we all want to believe that technology can deliver 100%, 24/7 – is that reality? The reality is understanding errors do occur , temporary glitches can happen and once in a while upgrades need to be made . The reality of the Web is that technology is expanding and those tools made to make your life easier do take efforts to learn . As technology progresses we must be prepared to make upgrades, updates and expand along with it . By working out all of the errors such as broken links (this requires ongoing maintenance), spelling errors, broken images , browser inconsistencies , etc. you can present a well-polished gem to your website visitor , which will inherently carry its worth in its visual appeal, optimum functionality and delivery of relevant, needed content.
Please consider the above 10 key points to improve your existing web presence or if you are looking to start your own Cochrane or Calgary Web Design site .