Eliminate The Question Marks

Apr 29, 2010

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Posted In : Web Design, Web Design

question mark in human head

One of the most important things to having an effective web design layout is website usability. Website usability is the art of making a website easier to use for all types of users no matter their skill level with using the internet. Websites should be easy to use and navigate through instead of a chore to get though. The easiest thing for a web designer to do when trying to improve website usability is to “Eliminate The Question Marks” that users may have. Eliminate simple questions like:
  • Is that clickable
  • What is quick search
  • What is a keyword
  • What does that mean
  • What should I do first
  • Why is that there
  • Where is…
  • and many more…
There are great websites out there that belong to big major brand companies and I myself have had questions ring in my brain as I am using the site. The author of the book “Don’t Make Me Think”, Steve Krug, used the term mental chatter that can happen in milliseconds. While some of the questions above may seem somewhat trivial to a degree, they do cause a user to your website to have to spend more time figuring things out on their own even if it is for only a couple of seconds. In the internet world a couple of seconds is all that a company has in:
  • Showing off their reputation
  • Building their brand awareness
  • Getting a potential new customer
  • Having potential customer want to share your site
  • Or anything you would want them to do
Due to fast paced nature in which the internet has taught us as people that we can get what we want much faster and find things much faster, it is imperative that the websites themselves not hold up the process of speed by making a user say “Huh”
stick figure saying Huh

If you are ever on a website and you have a quick “Huh” moment as a web designer then make special note as there will be quite a few users who will do the same thing. One of the biggest things that I have seen is that as more experienced web users we often take things for granted that we know what things mean and how to move around a majority or websites because we do it a lot everyday. The reality is that you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of users who will say what does that mean or can I do this? Everyone, even experienced users, have said these two questions at some time. As I always say it is best to make things “Dumb Friendly” or “Simply Stupid”.

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