Web Usability: Don’t Let Your Visitors Think!

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Whether you’re running an e-commerce store, delving into affiliate marketing or ranting in your personal blog, usability is a very important element of your Web design. This concept is very dynamic that sometimes it’s really hard to keep with its pace.

Here at SpellBrand, we try to simplify complex ideas and jot down the key points so you can apply it to your business as soon as possible. So, here we go.

The heart of usability is simplicity. The objective is to lead your visitors to where you want them to go – your shopping cart, offer page or a blog post. The design of your website must be really, really obvious that it will not let your visitors think too much. Every visitor must be able to get what you’re site is all about at a glance and find out what he’s looking for quickly.

The fatal mistake is to fill your visitors’ minds with lots of questions such as, “Where should I start?” or “Where is the…?”

Here’s a classic example of a messed up Web design coming from Burlington National UFO Center (hyperlink intentionally not included). A quick glance at the screenshot of this crammed site is enough to cause a headache (imagine visiting the site and looking for the info you badly needed).

Here, the owner has no control over the behavior of the visitors – a big mistake particularly if you have conversion goals. With so many options stuffed in one page, visitors have no idea where to start. To make matters worse, a lot of contrasting logo colors are placed close to each other, creating too much distraction.

Now, take a look at this site we developed for one customer.

By creating an uncluttered and easy-to-navigate design, your visitors can easily click where they want to go. Quick information about the business and even a tour option are presented altogether in the front page. The contact number screams at the upper right hand of the site. In this manner of presentation, visitors no longer have to think or ask so much.

This is just one part of usability issues but if you get it right, it will tremendously help your business. If you want to study deeply the science of Web usability I suggest you visit useit.com by Jakob Nielsen.

A simple online registration form will do

If you want to build your customer database, using an online registration in your Website is a big help. Of course we want to get as much information as possible to make our marketing approach more effective.

Here lies the problem. With privacy a very big deal these days combined with numerous identity theft cases, it is very hard to convince online users to provide their personal information to any Web site, particularly startup companies.

According to a survey last 2005, ninety percent of online users want to be anonymous when they are searching and almost all hate unsolicited information.

If what you’re offering for free is really tempting, some online visitors are willing to give their personal information. Unfortunately, most online registration pages are quite long that many visitors dare not continue.

Marketing Hipster has a good experiment you may want to try. Just get ask for basic information in your online registration: first name, e-mail address, and Zip code.

With that information, I can contact this person again, I can personalize that next communication with his or her first name and I know what part of the country they live in. Now if I created a site that offers people something of value they will want to come back time and time again and as they come back again and again, I can ask them further questions about themselves.

The key here is providing something that is very useful or valuable to your target market. Moreover, explain the reasons why you want to get hold of their personal information. Believe me this can lower their defenses if you do it correctly. Otherwise, you will be stuck with just that 3 info and it will be a matter days before they unsubscribe.