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Creating Useable Website - 10 Things to Avoid

Creating Useable Website - 10 Things to Avoid
  1. Avoid simplistic search engine on the web site they may be easier to install but they are not better for your site and definitely not for your users. On site search engines are almost everywhere these days. They help the user find just what they want on a large website and avoid fumbling around. However, a poor search engine that will not take into account misspelled words or typos or that will not prioritize the search results may end up frustrating the user and making the site less useable. Use a search engine that will not require exact spellings, which will offer results "close" to the term typed if no exact match is found.
  2. Using a single color for links is an example of poor website design. Links should have at least three colors, one for those unvisited, one for those active and one for the links that have been visited. There are few things more frustrating to a person surfing than seeing the same page repeatedly because the link title was different and the site uses only a single color for links. Increase your site's value, decrease your bandwidth and increase your surfer's satisfaction by differentiating your link colors.
  3. Avoid the Great Wall of Text. Surfers will not read it in fact they will actively avoid it in most cases. Break your text up make it brief. Highlight keywords, use numbering, and keep your paragraphs down to less than 100 words when possible. Put the important points first just as if you were writing for a newspaper. If you are selling, then put in action words first. Buy, sell, learn, avoid, take, and discover are all action words, which invite the user to interact with your site and your text.
  4. Avoid fixed text size at all costs. There are several reasons for avoiding taking over a browser and fixing the font size even though, you can now specify font size throughout a site with the use of CSS. An increasingly large number of surfers are older now and small fonts will make your site less useable and less friendly for them.
  5. Using PDF files should be avoided. PDF files are not user friendly online though they make perfect sense for the person printing text. They are hard to navigate, break the flow and generally create a poor user experience. Surfers in general hate pdf files and will avoid them if possible and so should you.
  6. Complex and strange website navigation is a mistake. Most surfers will take their basic training in the internet on a variety of sites. They like what they understand and feel comfortable with and putting in odd navigation or unexpected links will confuse them. Today, if they do not like a site and it seems too hard to use, they simply go to another. Make your site easy to use and obey the more common navigation styles so the users do not become uncomfortable.
  7. Forcing the user, somewhere he does not want to go is a huge mistake. One of the most hated experiences on the internet is the popup, and even though popup blockers are common now, people find ways around it. Interestingly enough the new overlays, which grey out the site and present an ad are becoming popular. If you feel you must use those, give the user a way to close those ads or they will go somewhere else. People want to feel in control of their systems if you try to take that control from them, you will lose them to a site that does not.
  8. Not maximizing your search engine visibility on your pages is a tremendous error. The page title is probably the first thing a search engine sees, it is also what is used for the bookmark title. You have just a few characters in which to state a message and you do not want your page title to bookmarked under something completely inappropriate. Start your page title off with the topic not "Hello, and welcome to".
  9. Using advertisements that resemble advertisements is an error. Unlike the early days of the internet when users were easy to tempt into clicking an ad, these days they have become ad blind. They do not see it if it resembles an advertisement, they have been trained not to.
  10. Information is king and failure to provide it is - failure. Information runs the internet and most people are on a website looking for it. In other words, they want questions answered such as "how much" "when" "where" or even "is there a warranty" and more. If you do not provide the information even if your design is great, your site is easy to navigate and the experience is, good the user will go elsewhere to get their answers. List the price, outline the features, and even detail the warranty, because they want to know.

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