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Make your website easy and fun to use

Special to the DailyErin Pheil
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Your website is gorgeous. There’s a gorgeous photo of you on the homepage. You can move from page to page within your site with ease – in fact, you could do it blindfolded with both hands tied behind your back.Yet unless you have a small personal “diary” website, all these things matter not. What it all really comes down to is, how easily can your website visitors use the site? Let’s dive into some basics of website usability today, shall we? If your site’s visitors can’t use your website, they can’t do what you want them to do. They can’t find information quickly. They can’t figure out the best manner in which to contact you. They can’t purchase your products or, even worse, they can’t determine what it is that you actually do.

Here are a few tips you can follow to help your website visitors move around, utilize, and interact with your website more effectively.– Is it obvious what’s clickable? While you personally might feel that it’s glaringly apparent that the flashing sunflower on your website is the contact page button, many of your visitors will not.Don’t make your site visitors blunder about, waste time, and become frustrated by clicking this and that. Make sure that it’s extremely obvious which items on your website are clickable and which items are nothing more than pretty pictures.– Is there too much visual noise? When you slap photo after photo and paragraph after paragraph of text onto your webpages, you’re simply increasing the number of items that are competing for your visitors’ attention. Make sure to remove graphics and text that do not directly serve distinct purposes. Get rid of that useless “Welcome to our website” paragraph. Remove that third photo of Peak 1. Let your page (and your visitors) breathe.

— Can users tell where they are? Because the internet is a virtual space as opposed to a physical one, it’s not always easy to know where one’s located at any particular moment. A click here, a link to a different page deep within a new site and, hmmm, are you lost? To ensure users feel comfortable and know where they are within your website, provide descriptive page titles and headings on all your site’s pages, not just the homepage.– Make your website’s text easy to skim. Your website is not a print brochure. Unless it’s an article, people tend not to sit and read on the web – they skim. Guide your site’s visitors along and help them find information more quickly by cutting your site’s text by a substantial amount – try for 25 percent. Once you’ve cut down the amount of text displayed, break it up into small, readable chunks with descriptive headings. Your site users will thank you – trust me on this one!



Taking these small, simple steps toward great usability will not only make for happier website visitors, it will allow your visitors to do what you’d like them to (whether read, purchase or interact) with far more ease. For more information, check out the great book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug.Oh! One last thing before I take off today: We have another small contest. Since it’s always timeforcake, today’s prize is a shiny silver book entitled “Piece Of Cake” by Maggie Mayhew, filled with delicious recipes, vintage photos from the 1950’s, and simple step-by-step instructions. To enter, send an email to info@timeforcake.com with one sentence telling me why you’d like the book. A winner will be chosen at random tomorrow and sure enough, he/she will soon be baking their cake and eating it too.eRin pheiL is the owner of timeforcake (www.timeforcake.com). eRin can be reached at (970) 668-0709, or at info@timeforcake.com.


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