Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Design Characteristics which affect customer experience in using Organisational Website

“how to judge a website depends not how beautiful it is but the accessibility it provides”

E-commerce done within the enormous realm of Internet handles competition which is indeed tight. Businesses must have a striking yet informative way of handling the design of their websites to enable the success of their commerce. Yet, when we say striking it is not only the attractiveness of the site but there are also other terms to which sites are to be judge. There is a quote given by an author of an article about SEO which states “A beautiful Website that gets no traffic and makes no money might as well be an ugly Website. An ugly Website that has traffic and makes money gets more beautiful by the dollar.” Observing and analyzing the quotation, sites don’t necessarily have colored images covered all over its page, moving objects and images as well as audio and video attachments. Even simple websites can be said as beautiful if it is working to its fullest and acting to its suppose function. Business online is much the same with the offline industry where advertisement and the presentation of the product is very vital in the progress of the business. Though it is being done differently, yet the concept is the same. Mostly, we see and observe business outside our homes where it contains models that promote their merchandise, seeing huge billboards and flyers posted all over the walls. Somehow it is done slightly diverse when dealing with the online processes. Webmasters and developers have observed that novice developers often make mistakes in improving their websites. In a network, there is a huge difference between beautiful and pleasant to the eye with sites functional and user-friendly, which will have a better chance of success. The webmaster should always bear in mind two things: optimizing for visitors and for search engines. If the time the page will seek to infinity, and the search robots will not be able to index your site, it is immaterial whether he was handsome and informative. When talking about design, it doesn’t mean that it must contain images and other moving pictures to say that the site is indeed richly in designing. Design also covers the navigation capacity of the site as well as its user-friendly interface. The website need and must look professional and trustworthy for the reason to build connection and rapport with clients and consumers. Confidence is a great factor that must be included with all businesses either it be online or offline. The webmaster should be able to see that the site must relay its function to its buyer thus creating a consumer confidence. Having a poorly designed website will cost sales. Poor website design is often the primary reason for a website’s failure. This is because it fails to engage the user. Connection is indeed important between the user and the website.
Just as how businesses is done, there are also legal actions and other governmental laws that governs the proceedings in the online business industry. There are web standards that preside over these processes. Web standards refers to guidelines set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These standards ensure websites look and feel consistent across a broad range of devices and platforms, as well as being accessible by internet users regardless of disability. Conformance with the WCAG 1.0 (and other W3C) guidelines will enhance the market share and audience reach of your Web site by increasing its general usability. Adoption of WCAG 1.0 recommendations also demonstrates the commitment to social responsibility and equity of access to information and services. In addition, many of the WCAG 1.0 checkpoints will directly improve the performance of certain Web services and reduce the maintenance effort required.
Because of the importance of design in the web developing, there are many points that I have researched and compiled through the observation and study of other developers through out there online business experiences. I have enumerated some of it.

1. Usability
- as researched users who can’t find their way around easily (usually between 5 and 30 seconds) will often leave your website. If the information contained on the website is difficult to read or poorly structured chances are users won’t be able to find what they were looking for.
Usability can be broken into the following categories:
1. Ease of learning (learnability) – where buyers and customers will have an easiness of learning the content of the site. What product it implies or what is it all about.
2. Efficiency of use (efficiency)- this means the effectiveness and the good organization of its content.
3. Memorability – these defines the quality of being worth remembering, websites must have an impact with its users that it can be remembered easily by the customers.
4. Error frequency and severity- also another indicator in the usability of a website, where the frequency of errors must be minimized to show usability of the site
5. Satisfaction- contentment of the user when visiting the site, this means that the reader of the site gets what they want out of a particular site.

2. Navigation and Navigational Bar
- As a general rule users should always be able to get back to the homepage of the particular site. Common practice is to make the website logo (usually in the top left hand side) link to the home page.
as describe in one of the articles about web designing states that the use of breadcrumbs provide an excellent navigation system and show exactly where a user is in relation to your entire website at any given time. This can be likened to a map at a shopping complex showing where you are and how you get everywhere else. The navigation bar is an important part of the web design. the webmaster will have to have a navigation bar place either at the top, or the side of the web page of the website. This is because the visitors to the site will be depending on these navigation bars to help them in their navigation of the site. Without an effective navigation bar, the visitors are bound to get frustrated with your website.

3. Keeping it clean and focused
- this means that when doing business, web developers don’t need to put every third party advertisements all over the page, since it can cause frustration and negative effects on the consumers. Don’t clutter the website with every widget or third party advertisement . Less is most definitely more where design is concerned, and two or three well-placed ads will attract much more attention than a host of flashing icons. Keeping the focused is also an necessity in having an effective website. In an article the author stated that developers must think about the purpose of the website design. What do they want people to do when they first visit? Browse the products? Subscribe to a newsletter? Download a catalogue? Enquire about a service? Whatever it is , make it obvious and incorporate a ‘call-to-action’ into the design.

4. Give the Website an Attractive 'Look and Feel'
design concerning fonts and images is still important in the site. There are some obvious question like :Why should a website look good? Why should it look professional? Because like the sign hanging over a store in the strip mall, the website reflects upon business. If the sign's lettering looks crude and homemade, people would tent to be judgmental.
Developers owe it to themselves to make their website look top-notch. To succeed, they’ll need some artistic flair, or perhaps hire a graphic designer's talents for the basic design and site graphics. If you are not comfortable with graphic designing or web designing, you will have to hire either a website designer or graphic designer to help you with the designing of your website. With the help of a professional designer, you will be able to create the perfect web design as they will be able to assess your internet needs.


They will be able to create a professional design for your website. Remember that these people have years of experience and skills backing them, making it all the more safer and better for you to approach them for advice on creating the right web design.
Besides seeking help from the professionals for the perfect web design, you have to also get a professional logo created by them for use on your website. With a logo, your business has a representation in public with which people will be able to remember you and your business better. With the right logo and web design, you will be able to set your business apart from other businesses and thus have a stepping stone to success.

5. Construct the Site to Be Search Engine Friendly
Each webpage construct needs to contain the following elements. Note the careful placement of keywords, the search words people would use to find this particular webpage.
Title -- provocative and descriptive, containing the most important keywords from that webpage, no more than 80 characters. This is what shows up hyperlinked in search engine results, so make people want to click on it.
Meta tags -- The description meta tag should include one or two sentences (up to about 250 characters) describing the contents of this particular webpage. Work into the sentence the most important keywords and keyphrases that occur on this page. Some search engines will display your description. I still include a meta keywords tag, since Yahoo currently uses it for indexing, though Google doesn't.
Headlines -- H1, H2, H3 in HTML parlance. Your headline and subheadings should include your important keyword at least once.
Body text -- The first paragraph of the content of your webpage article or text should contain the main keywords for that page.
Hyperlink text and filenames -- Search engines believe that the words contained in hyperlinks on your webpage (such as widget) are important, and thus rank them higher. If the filenames contained in the hyperlink URLs contain important keywords (such as widget.html for the filename of your widget order page), so much the better.

6. Increase Market Share and Audience Reach
another thing that would create a impact and importance to the consumers is the sites marketability and its capacity to reach vast audience. Increasing discovery, access and usability of the Web site for all visitors is a major benefit from applying many of the WCAG 1.0 checkpoints. Furthermore, the proportion of people with disabilities can range up to 20 percent in some populations. A significant portion of those people with disabilities - in some countries as many as 8% to 10% of the overall population - can benefit from Web sites' conforming with WCAG 1.0.

Clear and consistent navigation – this is still one of the most important part of a website. people often avoid a Web site after an initial visit because they encounter difficulties navigating complex collections of information or cannot find (or refind) the item they wanted. Applying the WCAG 1.0 recommendations for clear and consistent navigation will help reduce this problem. There are also terms to which websites will enhance their usability, among these are the following from the article entitled Auxiliary Benefits of Accessible Web Design:
Device independence because of situational usage - an increasing number of people use a variety of technologies to access the Web and the WCAG 1.0 techniques can expose critical content and facilitate interaction in all these situations.
o While the primary Web device for some may be a multimedia-capable desktop computer with a high-bandwidth connection, those same people, and others, may also choose to access the Web with personal digital assistants, mobile phone browsers, or other, less capable Web devices, possibly over lower-bandwidth connections.
o Some users may find themselves in noisy environments where audio content may not be easily heard; having a text-based alternative becomes critical.
o In some situations glare on a screen may make seeing video, or even text-based content, difficult so having content that can be rendered with a voice synthesizer can be beneficial.
o An increasing number of users will access the Web with hands-free/eyes-free devices.
Clear and understandable content - this will immediately increase the size and breadth of the audience that can benefit from your Web site.
Text alternatives
o "D" links and "longdesc" attribute - since the message you hope to convey with complex graphics such as photographs, graphs and diagrams may not be immediately obvious to (or even viewable by) some visitors a clear text description of what the image means or conveys can be a great boon to your audience.
o Text descriptions for multimedia files - for any number of reasons (and many are identified in this document) a significant number of users worldwide will not be able to access content contained in multimedia files. Providing alternative text-based content will significantly increase its availability.
o Captioning - audio content will not be accessible to all users. Providing alternative textual content will significantly increase the number of people who will "hear" your message.
Color contrast - contrasting colors for page background and text make for easier reading. Dark text on a light background is usually the best combination for non-visually impaired, but utilising style sheets for controlling text and background colors allows others to chose the best combination for their needs and current environment (in other words, they may choose one style sheet while at their desktop computer, and another while using their laptop or PDA at a meeting or on an airplane). Also be aware that 8% to 10% of the male population in many countries exhibit some form of color blindness.

References:
http://infopirate.org/_design-vs-functionality-what-important-your-business-project-network
http://www.davidairey.com/5-important-design-aspects-of-any-website-or-blog/
http://www.wilsonweb.com/articles/12design.htm
http://www.roseindia.net/articles-directory/view-free-article/16095
http://www.dmreview.com/dmdirect/20041015/1011285-1.html
http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/benefits.html
http://www.selfseo.com/story-18143.php
http://www.topclickmedia.co.uk/web-design-important-success-business.htm
http://www.melbourneit.com.au/successbox/website-tips/good-website-design-why-its-important

Reactions:

3 comments:

Having the internet it will help to make your work faster and easier.

a website should be simple but direct to the point so that the customers dont get bored navigating the pages...

i agree..
some websites are supposedly really nice but the way it handles or was made is not really user friendly so one gets confused or irritated upon viewing it..!! tsk tsk

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