Great websites combine many qualities...
We start with our unique review into what you want from your website.
We will take the time to:
- Explain the different types of website available to you and discuss what would be the most appropriate site for your requirements.
- Describe the three characteristics of the most successful websites.
- Explain the importance of authority in driving traffic to your site.
But what makes a great website?
This is a question we've been asked on several occasions over the years and there is already a lot of material available online and in research papers. But, we felt duty bound to offer our opinion, based on our own experiences and research. We've divided our thoughts into five sub-headings.
- Does it do what your users need?
- How easy is it to use?
- Do your users enjoy using it?
- Is it easy to find and start using?
- How easy is it to update and maintain?
Does it do what your users need?
Ask yourself the following questions about your website. Remember that your target visitors won't hang around long if it isn't right!
- Is it obvious what the site is about?
- Does the homepage make a good first impression? Are there good website trust signals?
- Does it resonate with your target audience?
- How good is the content? How can it be made better?
- Is the content updated regularly and kept fresh?
- Have you ensured that it can be used by as many people as possible? Remember that improving online accessibility potentially increases your target market.
The guys have been brilliant. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process and they have taken the project forward in the right direction. We're very impressed with the finished website.
The resulting site is testament both to their technical expertise and their empathy for their clients' needs. I am very happy with the service received and have no hesitation in recommending them wholeheartedly.
How easy is it to use?
Let us look at this issue from two perspectives. The first looks at your target audience and the second looks at the management of the content.
Over the years there have been several important pieces of academic work on user interface design, probably most notably from Nielsen and Schneidermann. These extensive studies identify some key components in enabling website visitors to achieve what they need to with the upmost of ease. This is called usability in the industry and some of the most important concepts are as follows:
- Visibility of system status to ensure the user is informed on what's going on.
- Ensure that the language used in webpages resonates with the users' own language. Don't be too techie!
- Navigational freedom and control around the site makes the user feel in control.
- Be consistent in the use of language and design throughout the website.
- Avoid errors with good design. If they do occur, handle them efficiently and enable easy reversal of actions.
- Don't expect your users to remember what actions are necessary. Always make their options visible to them.
- Provide different routes for more experienced users.
- Provide help and documentation ass necessary
It is important that your website is updated regularly to keep it fresh and of interest to your visitors. The second perspective therefore involves the webmaster or the individual responsible for its upkeep. To facilitate this, you should choose a platform with a good content management system as standard. WordPress is the current industry standard and the system we recommend.
Why do we recommend WordPress?
Our Hosting and Maintenance Plans
Do your users enjoy using it?
Make sure that your website embraces the essential design principles shown below and that it achieves a high quality and engaging look. It should be an object to be desired, attractive and fun to use.
- Good contrast to bring out the dominant elements
- Repetition of design for consistency across the website
- Good alignment to create a clean, sophisticated look
- Grouping of related elements together
- Use pictorial images to improve recognition
- Progressively disclose information in order to maintain a user's focus
- Use of the Golden Ratio and the Rule of Thirds
- Keep the onscreen clutter to a minimum and let the key messages come through
- Think about the organisation of information. There a five ways to do this, by category, location, alphabet, time and hierarchy
- Keep things simple!
- Remember the reading pattern of your target audience. Western culture is to read left-to-right and top-to-bottom.
Is it easy to find and start using?
We believe that there are two important facets to be considered here.
- The first is a huge subject area in it own right and is called Search Engine Optimisation. This is about the techniques and practices that make it easier for your potential clients to find your site. Of course, we will ensure that your finished website adheres to best practice in this ever evolving subject. We intend to write more about this fascinating topic in the coming months. Well, we do love our work!
- The second concerns the adoptability of your website or system and this becomes increasingly important on larger sites. Your users may already be using a smilar service elsewhere. The design of your website must enable them to easily adopt the services that you provide. Where do they look for things? Can they easily find what they are looking? And are the services provided easy to access? In summary, is the design of your website intuitive to use?
How easy is it to update and maintain?
We offer website hosting and maintenance services to our web development customers only. Consequently, they then benefit from the following:
- A personalised management service as we know their requirements and website better than anybody else!
- Periodic health checks to ensure that the site is running correctly.
- Effective management of the software upgrades that will be required.
- Reassurance that the site remains compatible with ever evolving web technologies.
- Ongoing support with content management issues and general advice.
We offer several different hosting and management plans, designed to support the individual needs of our clients.