This Tip suggests you stand back and take a new look at your site. [First published July 2004. ]
Visitors arrive at your website by all kinds of means and for many different reasons. They haven’t all conscientiously typed in your organisation’s address. So what happens when they arrive at your site, and maybe not even on the front page?
Can they instantly see who you are are what you’re about? Have you written out your organisation’s name (in full) clearly on each page?
Not so good: “Here at the NZXYZ we offer many programmes.”
Better: “The New Zealand Xylophone Youth Zone (NZXYZ) teaches young people how to play the xylophone and lobbies for free xylophones for all primary school students. Our vision …
Can visitors easily find their way to a page which explains what your organisation is trying to do?
Make sure your website always has a page with contact information and a plain language explanation of what you’re about.
When you create a web site you know who you are and what you’re doing. It’s very easy to get caught up in saying “we” do this or “we” do that. You also know how your organisation works and that the “youth scheme” comes under the heading “programmes” while “equipment loan” comes under the heading “services”. But does the visitor know that?
Spend some time putting aside what you know and look at your site with fresh eyes. Take a long view and see your website as a new visitor would.
Find ways to organise your information that make sense to someone who’s never come across your organisation before.
Research has show that with other websites only one click away people won’t work very hard to use your site. If it’s too complex, too hard to find information or they just don’t “get” what you’re about then visitors will just go elsewhere.
One of the best books on the subject of making your website usable is Steve Krug’s ‘Don’t make me think’. If you visit Steve’s website you can read a chapter free online.
It’s an easy and utterly worthwhile read and even has links to other helpful information.
Take a moment now for the “long view” of your website.
Written for and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, July 2004.