What Makes a Bad Web Site? (Part One)


Things you should avoid doing when you are making your Web site

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In this section, I’ll illustrate some Web design principles by showing some examples of bad Web design. So put yourself in the user’s seat and study Web sites, browse and be active in looking for things you like and don’t like!

Bad Web Site Example :
http://www.renttoownrealestate.com/
To view screen shots, click here (opens in a new window).

This Web site makes has a few problem areas. One of the most important Web design principle is Usability. Usability is the term for how easy it is to use the Web site. The Web site was made to help someone find homes, and also find information regarding other topics about buying a home.

However, there is simply too much information on the Web page that it is very hard to find the information you are looking for. The Web site is making the user think too much and work too hard to do anything on the Web site. The user is being forced to read through too much information in order to find the information he/she was looking for.

Some Tips on Usability

A Web site should be simple and not confusing to use. Keeping it simple will make your job easier, and also the users’ job easier when using the Web site. There are a few tips:

1.Finding anything on the Web site should never be more than 3 clicks away. This is a good rule of thumb to make sure that users can easily navigate around the Web site.

2.Keep each Web page short, and keep the amount of scrolling to a minimum. Having a very long page is an indication that you may be putting too much information on the page and making it too hard for the user to obtain information. Having too much information can also overwhelm the user and he/she may likely leave the Web site. If you have a lot of information, put them on separate Web pages!

3.Think about what the user is likely to do when they are on your Web site, and focus to make sure those tasks are easy to do. For instance, if you are looking to sell a product online, make sure that the “Buy” button is easy to find. Any tasks on the Web site should be obvious to the user. A user should never have to learn how to use the Web site. If it’s too hard to use, the user will likely head elsewhere.

How easy is it to use your Web site?

It is very important that your Web site is easy to use. A good Web site should never make the user work too hard to find information. On a hard-to-use Web site, users can get frustrated and leave the Web site. Ask a few people to use your Web site and ask them to perform a particular task. For example, ask them to find the contact information of your organization and see if it was easy for them to do so. This process is called Usability Testing. Also, ask them about their impression of the Web site. User feedback is very important in the Web site design process, so be open to constructive criticisms!

Many authors have written books on Usability. I recommend Don’t Make Me Think! by Steve Krug if you are interested in learning more. If you cannot obtain a copy of the book, check out http://www.usability.gov/ for more information on Usability.

Next: What Makes a Bad Web Site (Part Two)

Chapters

0. About this Guide

1. Welcome

2. Importance of Marketing

3. What Makes a Bad Web Site? (Part One)

4. What Makes a Bad Web Site? (Part Two)

5. What are Some Good Web Sites (Part One)

6. What are Some Good Web Sites (Part Two)

7. What are Some Current Trends?

8. Before You Start Making Your Web Site

9. Let's Make a Web Site (Part One)

10. Let's Make a Web Site (Part Two)

11. Let's Make a Web Site (Part Three)

12. Final Words