Keeping Up Appearances in Website Design

Bruce Tognazzini’s online article “First Principles of Interaction Design” suggests a specific guide on essential and effective formal applications in web design. Tognazzini’s must-have list goes beyond the importance of effective design elements such as good typography, recognizable icons, or manageable navigation. Consideration should also take into account the efficiency of the user’s time and engagement of the website. This includes such factors as personal exploration, maintaining interest, reliable feedback, anticipation, customization, and memorable processing.

The content of the website, no matter how organized and visually appealing, should provide personal meaning to a user. Jeffrey Veen, founder and CEO of Typekit, believes that users want to find their own discovery when presented with data in table formats. Veen believes that the tools provided in the website should allow the user to interactively connect and filter out information important to them.

For example, fertilityfriend.com allows women to monitor their specific ovulation cycles in an interactive chart telling them what is a good time to get pregnant. The indication for the best time period for a woman to have sex to get pregnant is indicated when two red lines on this chart interact with one another. This website allows for a female user to personally control interfaces in this chart that ultimately reflects an important life-changing decision.

fertility friend

Personal Chart from fertilityfriend.com

Besides Tognazzini’s standards for effective user interface, web designers also need to take into account honest and reliable promotion of a website. Paul Boag suggests the owners of websites rely too heavily on quantity of content as opposed to the efficiency of the website. Boag criticizes the reliance of social news website Digg.com to promote other websites since visitors will usually scan Digg.com’s homepage and not neighboring links. This results in little or no visitor returns with the possibility of no one blogging posts or defending the website from criticism.

It is not advisable to deceive users into exploring there website. In 2006 car manufacturer BMW violated Google’s SEO guidelines by using doorway pages. Doorway pages are web pages that spam the index of search engines in order to redirect users into visiting a specific website. The overuse of JavaScript code unrecognized by Google displayed the over use of the word used car. Eventually, Google removed BMW as a top ranking search term.

Above BMW’s webpage with overuse of Java Script.

Below the revealed appearance of a doorway page.

Although Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media forums such as Facebook are useful tools to attract visitors, it is often overlooked as symbols of instant success. In order for users to be interested in your website Boag emphasizes the importance of building relationships through online forums and communities connected specifically to your target audience. Website owners need to invest a considerate amount of time through these relationships as well as monitor the success rates of their unique URLs.  It takes time but with realistic budgeting, online participation, honest campaigning, and Tognazzini’s guide the user will find your efficiency in your website.

Links

http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-02-01-n31.html

http://www.fertilityfriend.com/cg/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doorway_pages

http://boagworld.com/season/1/episode/6/

http://www.veen.com/jeff/index.html

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