Technology advancements have allowed for many improvements and enhancements in web design. Drastic changes have been made concerning programming, development, and available features. From flash animations, to blog pages, forums, and live chat, website designers have a multitude of design elements that can be added to their websites. Multimedia products such as audio, video, and podcasts are some of the other advancements in web design. One thing that has not changed, however, is the website readers. Successful website developers know and understand this concept, and apply it to every website that they design.
Web developers can often get so caught up in have a cutting edge, up to the minute design, that they forget about the visitors to the website. Without return visitors, and increased traffic to your website, your product or services won’t sell and your information will not be heard. This is where usability comes in. Usability basically means that your website readers are able to navigate easily through your website to find the item, service or article that they have been looking for. If the pages on your website are not clearly outlined, visitors will often become frustrated, leave your website and search for another website that fits their needs. This is why popular websites generally have an easy to read menu bar at the top or side of the web page, and navigation buttons throughout the graphical columns on the front page.
It doesn’t matter how amazing the graphics on your website look if they take too long to download. In this fast paced, microwave society, high-speed downloads are essential for a well designed website. If a video on your website takes so long to download that it bogs up the visitor’s computer, they are unlikely to return to your website, or to refer your website to others. If, on the other hand, the website has excellent graphics, videos, and flash that are quick to load and presented in an effective manner, your visitor retention rate will increase dramatically. Try out Yslow to help your site in this area.
Another important ingredient of a website is the actual wording, known as content, on the web pages. On the front page of your website, the content should be clear, concise and to the point. Visitors should be able to understand the basics of your website by briefly viewing this content. The content should be short stories or paragraphs which lead your visitors to the other pages within your website. Once the visitor has chosen another page on your website to view, this is your opportunity to expand on your information, offer your products or services, or inform your visitors of your contact information. Each page should have content that is limited to the overall theme of the web page, perhaps adding additional links to your other web pages, or related websites. Readers appreciate websites that have contact information, prices, and product or service descriptions clearly outlined. After all, that is why the visitor chose to come to your website in the first place!