User centered Website design

This is a great video about simple door design and the concept behind the Norman Door. It does have a few ah ha moments that translate well to good website design. Something that we try to combine into our website developers here on the Gold Coast.

Is it you or is this door (website) true badly designed.

I will do a series of these user centered website design blogs, but from this video the instant take away is obviousness of use, buttons should look like buttons and links like links. Additionally, when users are required to do something they need feedback, plesent feedback for doing the right thing negative if need for the wrong thing.

I have experienced this many times earlier in my web coding career when I was trying to push the envelope on what was possible back in the 1990s. One of my greatest looking site was one of my biggest failures . Keeping in mind this was back in the days of dialup modems and nothing else. This website was in 3D with moving vectors flying around. One of these vector elements was a menu that circled in 3D space around a central object. Really cool to look at few people were not impressed.

However, it sucked for getting business. It was for one of my own businesses at the time. So more than anyone I was felling it in the bank balance. Clients were telling me too '.. Great looking site, but what do I do with it..' after a short tutorial they would understand that the text circling was clickable and was also the navigation for the website. How many clients I lost due to this blunder I'll never know.

Quick breakdown of why it failed.

  • It was just too new, too different, with little cues to what was being done at the time. Basically it left the user lost.
  • There was little feed back when a user hovered on the menu and it was moving, which made it very hard to spot for a bambozoled user.
  • The message was not clear. There was so much cool stuff going on it was hiding all the important stuff for a business...which is buy this make money!
  • Classic case of to much flash and wow and not enough user centered messaging. The KISS rule was totally out the window on this project.

    Lesson learned: What I learned was unless your in the business of selling amazing graphics and coded websites. It is best to keep your business on topic and simple. My theory now is if you had a simple white page with your product on it, what would be the minium you could add to get a direct sales increase.

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    Senior Developer at Mebsites on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Mebsites is an acclaimed Magento and Custom Framework Web Software coding house.
    Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Website