U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Business Eye, December 2006 – Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

Many websites look nice, but when you actually start using them you get lost or confused quite easily. Companies lose visitors and therefore clients because of it.

Sometimes the origin of the problem lies with the web developer: maybe (s)he is great at the graphic design part, but just never got the hang of crafting an intuitive Information Architecture for the site. But site owners are part of the problem as well: many are too stubborn to listen to the expert advice that the developers provide.

So, apart from realizing that you are developing a website for the visitors rather than for yourself, what can you do to make a user-centred website? Try to see the site from your visitor’s perspective, and realize that all visitors are different.

Provide a site-search option for those 25% of visitors that are search-oriented. Have short pages where people can order right away, and a few longer pages for people who are still in researching mode. And create a site map and bread crumb trails to serve as a fall-back scenario for when people are lost, but not frustrated enough to give up yet…

For more information: contact your webmaster, or email Nardo Kuitert at nardo@u-cwebs.com.

Nardo Kuitert is an Internet Consultant with Fergus Website Development and Optimization firm U-C WEBS (www.u-cwebs.com). U-C WEBS also offers Internet advertising opportunities on www.ferguspages.com. (link opens in a new window)

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