Good Web sites - My view:
- Pages appear quickly
- Easy to use
- E-mail using the site address
- Easy to find, using search engines
- Work with all screen sizes and computers
- Clearly provides what the visitor wants
- Cost effective
- And - it pleases you, the client!
Pages appear quickly
10 seconds is about the maximum that most people are willng to wait, and many site visitors still use slow dial-up connections.
This means that photos and other graphics must be used with care, and always optimised.
Obviously there are horses for courses – an artistic or photo based site will take longer, and visitors may be prepared for this. But they may not.
It’s interesting to time how long you wait for a page on some sites.
Easy to use
The site must be easy to navigate, easy to understand, and as intuitive as possible. It must be easy to find your way about
The website should appear simple, even if it is complex underneath. For example, “The Potters Dictionary” website appears to have only four pages, but it really has seventeen. If they were all listed on one menu, that would be really confusing.
Like the swan: busy underneath, but calm and peaceful on top.
It should be pleasant to look at, so people are happy to use it.
E-mail using the site address
Flexible e-mail should be built-in, so that e-mail can be addressed to say: email@example.com, and forwarded to one e-mail address, while firstname.lastname@example.org, is forwarded to a different address..
Or the site owner can have fully working POP3 mailboxes, or Webmail, or all of them.
Easy to find using search engines
A beautiful website is useless if no-one can find it.
This means the site has to be “optimised”, that is, the site is arranged so that search engines can identify what it’s about, and offer the site to the enquirer.
Optimisation is an integral part of site design, not an optional extra.
Work with all screens and computers
Visitors will have all shapes and sizes of computers, screens and software.
We have to design our sites to be open and accessible to all. This limits our use of “bells and whistles”, while still producing an attractive site.
The purpose of the site and its pages should be clear immediately on arrival. And the purpose is to provide what the visitor wants.
The site owner must be happy
And of course, after all these other requirements, the site should do what you want!