Usability tests

Part 3: Custom-designed Websites

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Web- Planing-Designing

Website Planing and Designing

 

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Part 3 is the last in a series about website creation through a variety of platforms. Read these first Part 1: Choices of Websites and Part 2: Benefits of a WordPress.org Website

Custom-designed websites
Website design is split in three parts: the technical, programming and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) part:

  1. programmers who make websites run
  2. web designers who make websites pretty
  3. and SEO specialists who make websites popular -
    the art and science of getting a website to the top of Google or Bing.

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Planing is the most important step
Programmer, designer and SEO people can only work with the material you provide them. So,planning a website is just as important as creating one. The website must work in concert with your overall marketing plan. It might need a series of one-on-one meetings between you and an experienced designer in order to yield a great website.
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Question you should ask yourself:

  • why should there be certain features on the site
  • what will be the best possible result for visitors (and you)
  • where should the website be promoted
  • who should do what in the web creation process
  • which devices will be used to visit your website

Before you (or your web designer) start creating your website make a plan that should cover at least these points:

Checklist for Your Author Website

  • Domain Name
  • Web hosting
  • Programming language **
  • Font type*
  • Page layout
  • Website Title and Meta title
  • Meta description and Keywords
  • Text preparation and editing
  • Image preparation for web
  • Customer tracking system
  • Email opt-in buttons
  • Follow me buttons
  • Sharing buttons / plug-ins
  • Event calendar
  • About us
  • Privacy page
  • Payment systems
  • Site map and search function
  • Usability tests
  • Website marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization

* Arial or Verdana are available on all computers
** HTML or XHTML & CSS, if you sell your book(s) from your website: shopping cart PHP embedded
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Create a quality website, interesting content, be genuine and give your customers value. The following multimedia elements, will greatly enhance the appeal and usefulness of the website:

  • Images, illustrations – in high-quality
  • Documents (usually PDFs)
  • Audio
  • Video (i.e., embedded from YouTube or Vimeo, or self-hosted)
  • Content feeds (from other websites, or blogs)
  • Twitter stream
  • RSS feeds

How to Write Internet Content
Eye-tracking studies have shown that readers SCAN text (in an F-shaped pattern), rather than READ it. And: website visitors read more slowly on the screen than in print.
Reading on a screen is fatiguing. A screen, whether a massive 26-inch monitor or a diminutive smartphone, projects tiny points of light at your eyes. Reading long stretches of text can be very tiring. Users will scan for key points in the text, write short blocks of copy and bulleted or numbered lists to make it easy to scan your text.
Online content is not just about words. When you write for the Internet, think “presentation”. Print content is formally written and a passively read. Online content is informally written, interactive and dynamic:
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Use bullet lists, such as this one

  • Create lots of short paragraphs, and give them all a headline
  • Keep sentences short, they should never be longer than one line
  • Use spell check and a beta reader / software
  • Readers like to interact on the Web, so give them lots of links
  • Illustrate your text, use lots of images
  • Don’t let your readers scroll on the screen, keep it to one page
  • Except prepositions and the words “and” and “the”, all major words in a headline
  • should be capitalized

Webdesign books on Amazon:
The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2, by Patrick McNeil
Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to (X)HTML, CSS, by Jennifer Niederst
Robbins
White Space is Not Your Enemy, by Kim Golombisky
The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, by Jason Beaird
Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case
scenarios with XHTML and CSS, by Dan Cederholm
Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML, by E. Freeman and E. Robson
Beginning HTML, XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript, by Jon Duckett

And this is the most important and useful book, you should read before anything else:
Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition, by
Steve Krug  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000SEGQNS

Motto of the book: Usability as common courtesy – Why people really leave Web sites
“I thought usability was the enemy of design until I read the first edition of this book. Don’t Make Me Think! showed me how to put myself in the position of the person who uses my site.”

Another great resource for planning a website is a comprehensive article: Web Planning Guide 
by Ben Seigle.

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Tagged: Checklist for Website, Create lots of short paragraphs, Customer tracking system, customized website, Don’t Make Me Think, Eye-tracking studies, How to Write Internet Content, Steve Krug, Usability tests, use bullet lists, Web Design, Web usability


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