Once upon a time, when we just began working in web design, our only goal was to impress the client. Today we consider this vision is totally wrong, except the case when a web site has one single user – the client.
Any web site should be built in response to certain needs. The web is medium of information, and the content is king. No matter how good the design will be, without fulfilling the needs for information – the site will be a failure.
Goals are best visualized when you make scenarios for real user experience. A common mistake is focusing on the technologies and forgetting about how easy will the real user find the information he needs, and what will be the overall impressions after using the site. The point is to make the user happy and reward it with something he needs in response to his time spend.
Our advice is to think of a web site as of a two-way dialog medium. Imagine yourself chatting with that site and getting pleasant responses, you will be delighted with the feeling it works for you. Here we would like to introduce the so called – “system intelligence” this concept provides the greatest opportunity to differentiate excellent web products from the mainstreams. Think ahead what dialogues should be anticipated or avoided, what errors can possible occur, how can the site respond in a way that increases the user’s satisfaction. Also the “404 – File not found” solution is actually very rude! You could design the system to pull up a list of similar pages to look through – this is much more user friendly.
A good and intelligent system is always predicting the next step of the user, and acts accordingly. Even if this requires more resources to design such a system there always are win-win approaches that will work for your users and your goals. Here are some examples of win-win solutions:
Advertising messages at resting pages.
Let’s say there is a downloading page, the user is happy with the download and meanwhile can actually pay attention on some advertising.
It’s easy to imagine a newspaper and advertising boxes through the lines. The user can easily ignore it, or sneak a look.
Advertising by entertainment.
Probably the most pleasant way of advertising – it’s always very interesting and funny to observe a cartoon message that invites you to click and find out the rest of the story.
The cat and mouse approach.
It’s when you want to sell the cat, but you offer the mouse for free and the user has the impression he still wants more. The user discovers something new or of interest, you are advertising your services and as a consequence sell more. It’s a trivial win-win isn’t it?
Advertising via Newsletters.
It’s a perfect way to provide the right users the right information, without their having to go and get it, as soon as it becomes available. Also it collects the users’ information as contact details which represent a route of direct communication and target oriented actions. Besides, it is a very cost-effective win-win solution.
Even this post has some goals, one of which is to encourage you finding win-win solutions and always use the GOOD philosophy.