the magic out of your web site
people who are trying to find out the services offered by various
community groups, the internet can be a daunting and unknown
place. Many are not computer-savvy, many more would not even
describe themselves as computer-literate.
of us who use computers and the internet on a daily basis, the
virtual world has become a handy extension to our physical world
of information and communication networks. To those for whom
computer usage is limited or even a fearful experience, the
internet can resemble the worst kind of nightmare: it is convoluted,
discouraging and ultimately humiliating.
and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke once observed that,
“any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
from magic.” That claim is probably not too far from the
truth of the experience of the internet for many people. This
reality needs to be taken into account therefore whenever one
sets about designing a web site for an organisation that is
primarily oriented towards community service and accessible
by member of the general community.
is impossible to change the nature of the PC to make it less
daunting to end users, it is possible to create attractive but
unambiguous web sites that take much of the guesswork out of
navigation. For some time now web design has spiralled towards
the fancy, flashy and cutting-edge. To the uninitiated this
is simply piling magic upon magic.
be fun if you have paid to be entertained, but it loses its
appeal rather quickly if you feel that you’re the only
one that is not in on the joke.
this problem, the most effective method of making the inexperienced
user feel like they are not battling to escape the magical labyrinth
is to create clear navigation tools for your site.
simply means logically ordering your data and then labelling
it appropriately. The framework is as simple as that.
labelling of data is dependent on the type data that you want
to include in your site. The most important thing to note here
is that it has to have a name that makes sense to both you and
your visitor. If your organisation runs lunchtime meetings for
parents and children and your data is on local playgrounds and
their facilities it might seem appropriate to label the data
“Site Assessments”. Rest assured however, to your
net visitor the obvious button to click would be something called
anything that can have the jargon terms removed and replaced
with plain English will be a welcome design element to any effective
to this some obvious and cleanly presented buttons and/or text
links and your navigation issues are almost solved. Briefly:
The navigation bar or area should not change from page to page.
Too much change to the structure can be difficult to comprehend
– even for the experienced user. To this end, on larger
sites it may even be appropriate to provide a step tool which
explains through arrows “>” and hyperlinks which
level the user is at within your website. It makes returning
to a previous category or collection easy and it gives the user
a quick escape button as well as a constant quick map of where
they are within your site.
apparently simple design elements will make your site seem more
welcoming and helpful to the uninitiated, and may even prove
to be a welcome change for the more experienced web surfers.
column: Location, location, location!
free to call for a quote on 0421 349 086
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.