Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Next stop: your website

I recently joined a website as a new member but found the site overwhelming. Where am I going to start? How do I really know what I'm looking for and how are you going to ensure that I find it? Here are a few tips for web developers and content generators.

1. Make sure that your search function is working
If I go to your website and type something into the search box I'd like to have a list of resources on your website.

2. Consider a short instructional video giving me a tour
Typically when I register for a website I'm asked what my interests are. Why not have a guided tour created in a program like Adobe Captivate that can give me a quick overview of where I can find your content.

3. Have your contact information readily available, mainly, an e-mail address
Since I'm busy and on the go, if I'm looking for a resource at your website, I'll most likely send you an e-mail and expect an answer, not a generic response, within 48 hours. If I'm really under pressure, I'll pick up the phone, but don't make me search for it because I might not be back.

4. Don't make me scroll through pages of text.
I'm not a fan of scrolling through pages of text to see what's new. Keep a list of trending topics at the top of your page and link me somewhere else instead of posting five, two-page stories on a single web page.

5. Make sure your web developers aren't in a silo.
A web developer may be great at their job but are they a content expert? Have they obtained input from the content expert or end user on how they'd like content posted and displayed? Talk to one another before you make something final and come to find out that it's nonsensical and nonfunctional.

What do you expect from websites? Do you have examples of great sites to share?

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