If you have thought it through and tried to make small changes but you are still unhappy with your site, here are some things to consider:
- Existing successful web sites. The first thing that I do as a web developer/consultant is ask my clients to list three-five web sites they like and find easy to navigate. This not only makes them think about what they consider good practices, it also helps me to create a “best of the best” web site for them based on real usable web sites and not abstract design thoughts.
- Color/Branding. I also ask to see their letterhead, logo, or anything else the individual or company uses. I feel it is very important for companies to set a consistent and professional tone for their users and visitors. Brand recognition is key in most markets. There are a number of web sites that can help you choose a good color palette – use them. (Adobe Kuler is a good example)
- Purpose. I recommend really thinking about what users are looking for when they come to your web site. If your site’s purpose is to provide information to the users, make it easy to find that information. Users will appreciate being able to find the information much more than the expensive flash animation when the site loads regardless of how cool it might seem. There is a time and place for most everything. Once you figure out your purpose, do not get distracted. (Think Google.com)
- Audience. Know your audience. If you expect a large number of users to be on a certain platform using certain browsers or using cell phones to access the site, make sure you spend some time and optimize your code appropriately. With a little effort, you can also do a lot to your site to make it more readable and accessible for people with disabilities. Be sure and also analyze your logs to get more demographic information (this is invaluable).
Although the list of items seems pretty straightforward, you would be surprised how many people do not consider any or all of them. If you can address all the items above, you will be on the right track to creating a successful web site. Have a project you need help with? Contact me, I would be happy to help out.