Why do clever, successful, business decision makers frequently make a total hash of things when it comes to their website! Time and time again directors and owners influence their website investment negatively resulting in art not a usable product!

Too often the decision maker of a new website ends up getting highly focused on the look and feel - the design turns into art. The personal likes and dislikes of the decision maker becomes the most important detail.

To the extent that common web standards and good practices in usability get thrown out of the window.

I have come across stakeholder driven mistakes such as:
+navigation being put on the right hand side ignoring defacto standards of top / left
+login boxes being put at the bottom left
+complex flash features that look amazing but are not very usable
+crazy use of frames to ensure fixed dimensions resulting in scroll bars all over the place

Then a few months later the Director complaining that the site does not get many page views / user! I have helped companies who have made these mistakes correct them and turn their websites delivering business objectives.

It may be ego going too far or it may just be that the stakeholders do not know what is important for the product? Or is it that people treat their website just like a printed brochure and forget that it is something that people use?

I believe the key discussion that is missed too early is,
“Which comes first for this site, usability / function or look / feel.”

To put it a different way the question "is it a work of art to look at, or a product for people to use?".

For a recruitment agency website this discussion is probably going to result somewhere in the middle but closer to function than looks, such as:

· Attractive, positive message showing us as professional

· Clear information to attract clients

· Easy to use to attract candidates to apply

I want to urge you all to consider this question and have clear business objectives for your website.

How pretty is Ebay or Google – are they works of art or fantastic usable designs?

Best Practice “Remember people do more than look at your website, they USE it! Follow standards set out by the most popular websites”

See my Allthetopbananas.com blog

Views: 65

Comment by Elisabeth Winkler on February 19, 2009 at 2:25am
Yup i I like this. Hope all the top bananas are reading this too.

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