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The Three S’s of Website Design

Your audience is the main reason for building a website. Without someone to view the pictures, graphics, words and hundreds of pages of information, you might as well spend your time playing golf. With this in mind, your audience, customer base, targetted traffic, whatever you want to acknowledge them as, request you follow three simple rules when they visit your site. The designers three responsibilities are simplicity, speed and security.


Simplicity


In terms of navigation and style of the site, simplicity is the best way to go. If the information a visitor needs can only be found by clicking on three seperate links, then 9 out of 10 times they will go to a site that they can get the information by just one click. Navigation is extremely important because 1) everyone is not an expert internet user, 2) people want what they are looking for, five minutes ago and 3) everyone is not using DSL or cable.


In regards to simplicity, keep these tips in mind:


  1. Make sure there is a link back to the homepage on virtually every page of the site.

  2. Menus are highly useful in navigating a site with different sections. You will find menus to the top and bottom of most pages of a website.

  3. When dealing with forms, it is best to have all the fields on one page, but in some cases, this is not possible. Viewers don’t want to have to fill in three fields on three different pages.

  4. A link to your most visited pages should be found on the index page. Trust me, your visitors will thank you for it.

  5. Remember, not everyone is a genius so make sure links and buttons are not misleading and pretty much self explanatory.

Speed


Now, I love flash intros just as much as the next guy, but most internet users are still using a 56k modem so this means higher load times. Your index page should be designed with the idea of making a great first impression, but not so impressive that it takes three minutes to load over the phone line. Keep only the pictures and graphics that are most important to allow users to get there foot in the door. Remember this holds for all of the pages found on the site as well.


Security


Most of the internet websites designed today are built with the idea of selling a product or service. A customer will shop online with someone they feel safe with. This is how Amazon.com and the like have lasted so long. Their customers are confident that when they make a purchase, that there credit card information is safe. Therefore, they keep going back for more purchases.


If the url for the webpage where purchases are made does not contain “https:” or the link to verfiy that they are a secure site, then the customers who do the most online shopping will recognize the fact that the webpage is not secure and move on to a website that gives them the security they need. My advice is if you wish to sell products but don’t want to spend a lot of money to set up a merchant account, then try vendors like Paypal or BidPay. If you do not wish to deal with a third partyFree Web Content, then contact Verisign or Authorize.net.


James Junior is a freelance writer and web programmer for www.jccorner.com.

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