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The Golden Rule Of Website Design

title:The Golden Rule Of Website Design

author:Chuck Larrieu

source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/web_design_and_development/article_124.shtml

date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:20

category:web_design_and_development

article:

Ever browse any of those personal improvement books that crowd the bookshelves at the booksellers and the libraries, not to mention the coffee tables of your friends and desks of your coworkers? Ever notice how they all say the same thing? Thatís because there are very few truths in life.

The same goes for website design, where the Golden Rule applies every bit as well as it does in your personal interactions. Design your website for your visitors as you wish they would design their websites for you.

For example, are you thoroughly annoyed by popups, especially those that run complex scripts, take forever to load, seize other browser windows for themselves, require interaction before you can continue with your reading or research? What makes you think you are the only one? What makes you believe your visitors will be more tolerant of such antics that you are?

Ever been confronted by one of those popups telling you to click here to do a registry scan or a virus scan? In the current atmosphere, with legitimate concerns about spyware and trojans, do you think you are building trust with your visitors by appearing to attempt to download malware onto their computers?

The common wisdom is that you should have no more than one popup, preferably an exit popup offering one last chance to buy your product or service, or asking your visitor to join your mailing list. However, even a single popup can be extremely annoying, especially when just about every site out there has one or more. Besides, with the advent of some very good popup blocking software, especially those incorporated into the Google and Yahoo toolbars, what makes you think your popup is even going to be seen? We surf quite a bit in our daily activities, and we see most popups being blocked by our free toolbar software. Therefore it is much more effective to write good tight succinct page content that attracts your visitorís eye, keeps him interested, makes her want to bookmark your page for future visits.

Then there are those raucous audio blasts. These days, many people listen to music or radio programming via their computers while they surf. There is nothing more annoying than to have your favorite music interrupted by some obnoxious sales pitch, sound effect, or someone elseís idea of listening enjoyment. Sure, those audios make your website ďkewlĒ, or so you think. But be honest. When you walk into a brick and mortar store, are you sometimes put off by the walls of sound that greet you? When you are surfing, do those audios interfere with your chosen listening enjoyment? Think maybe your web visitors feel the same?

Ever tire of those never ending sales letter websites? You know the ones, where you read and scroll and read and scroll, and finally give up, scroll to the end, looking for that place where you can buy, or request further information, only to find that what you want isnít there, but is buried several paragraphs up? Most people do NOT want to read long and winding web pages, with a lot of repetitive information. What most people want are the essentials, and a means of finding you again later. You donít have to give a long sales pitch with the expectation that your visitor is going to buy then and there after reading your convincing content. Your visitors are looking for general information, with the idea of purchasing your product of service later, after having comparison shopped. Think about it. When you walk into a store, do you want the salespeople to engage you in a twenty minute pitch, or do you want to look around first, see whatís available, and then consult the sales staff for more specifics? It is no different on the web, and your website should reflect this reality.

Lastly, take care what features you incorporate into you website. Are your visitors going to have to download or upgrade software in order to view your content? Are they going to want to? A lot of people donít think they should have to upgrade to the latest and greatest, just because thatís what you have. There are still a lot of older computers and older operating systems out there which donít support the absolute state of the art toys. Do you really want to exclude those people from your target audience?

Yes, website development, like life in general, benefits from the thoughtful practice and application of the Golden Rule. Build your website for others, as you would have them build their websites for you. By practicing this advice, you will build meaningful content and attract the kind of traffic that will result in sales and success for you.

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