Left Bay’s Musings on the Media

Searching for answers in sales and marketing

Keep Your Website Simple, Stupid

You know about K.I.S.S. –  Keep It Simple Stupid. The same philosophy should be applied to your websites. The prevailing problem with websites has been achieving good site stickiness – keeping visitors on websites — and it’s mostly due to poor usability. There are many successful ways to remedy this, but there’s one persistent answer: Keep It Simple (Stupid).

When a visitor lands on any landing page, they usually know what they are looking for, and if they can’t find it within, say 3 seconds, then they’re out, and you (or your client’s) bounce rate increases with every immediate exit.

I understand there are websites out there that require having a lot of content heavy or dynamically driven pages, but it is still possible to maintain a simple (ish) structure. Jakob Nielsen (www.useit.com), web usability extraordinaire, puts it best:

Where am I?
Where have I been?
Where can I go?

Successful sites have easy navigation, and make it clear to the user where they are. What does that mean? Keep consistency throughout your site. Your logo, header, footer, and navigation bars should remain in the same place and contain the same links across all your pages. If you have a site with a lot of pages, make folders and subfolders clear (“Home > Services > Ad Networking > Case Studies”, for example). Your titles should be accurate and relevant to the content. Don’t clutter. Make it clear to users where they have already been. Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define visited links so that once a visitor has clicked somewhere, the link changes color. Have clear navigation bars and sub menus that let visitors know where else they can visit on your site.

Here are some interesting links for more information about usability:
The human factor in gadget, Web design – about YouTube usability, CNET News.com
Great Minds in Development: Steve Krug – article on and video from usability expert Steve Krug, DevSource.com
Great Minds in Development: Designing Your Applications for Usability – article on and video from Jakob Nielsen, DevSource.com


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