What makes a WebSite attractive to the average web-user?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by aaps59, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. aaps59 macrumors regular

    aaps59

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    NY
    #1
    What makes a WebSite attractive to the average web-user?
    I ask this because I am in the process of designing a site, not for a product but something like a local social network or around those bases. Im sure there are posts like this previously, but the web changes daily and so do the users, so I would like to know, what makes you all attracted to different sites? What key features or design?
     
  2. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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  3. aaps59 thread starter macrumors regular

    aaps59

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    NY
    #3
    haha yes, but there is a limit to how much you can give or even what you can give.
     
  4. Dunmail macrumors regular

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    Skipton, UK
    #4
    Good, relevant, content that is up to date is always a good start. You also need to listen to your visitors though beware of becoming too much of a niche site.
     
  5. 3rd Doctor macrumors member

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  6. MarkHarrisonUK macrumors newbie

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    Jan 17, 2009
    #6
    What makes me attracted to sites?

    - They do something different. Another Social Network had better offer something more compelling to me than LinkedIn or FaceBook. It doesn't need to do everything, it needs to do SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY WELL.

    - They answer the question I had in mind when I got to them (this means that they are easy to find for the RIGHT keywords, which are the ones in my head, not the one the site owner thought he should be paying an SEO expert for.)

    - They have useful content in a way that is easy to digest, ideally on whatever landing page I've been taken to (that means that if you are running an article about Dave's Hardware Store, MyTown, TX, then you want the incoming link to be to THAT PAGE, not something about how great YOUR hardware store review section is.) So, make it easy for other people to link into specific pages in your content. This means no interstitials.

    - If there's lots of content that I might want to come back to, then "don't make me think" about where to go. Make it blindingly obvious. That means, for instance, if you have a forum that I need to register to post with, keep track of which message I was trying to reply to...

    - I expect navigation to be at the top or the left, because "everyone knows that's how websites work". Don't mess with me and try to invent your own paradigm. (As an aside, if you MUST have your site logo at the top left, at least have the decency to make it a link to your home page, not just an image.)

    Hope this helps.

    Mark
     
  7. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    Orlando
    #7
    Since no one's addressed design, I'll add my 2¢.

    The sites that I go back to on a regular basis have three things in common (as related to design):

    Original: The site must be unique in some way. Granted, it shouldn't be so unique as to make it difficult to navigate, the advice about putting navigation at the top left is good, it should always be where the user expects it to be, but overall, the design should not look like it was ripped off of anyone else's site.

    Clean: The design needs to contain the right amount of white space, needs to be uncluttered, and above all, needs to direct my eye to the important information on the page. If I visit a page to read an article, I need to be able to read that article without first sifting through all the other visual junk on the page. If I can't quickly find the information on the page that I'm expecting to see, I hit back or close within just a few seconds usually.

    Consistent: Don't change designs for different pages of the site, obviously, but also make sure you're using the same design elements all over the page. Don't mix reflections and drop shadows, don't make one part of your page blue and white but suddenly make another element on the page green for no good reason. Keep color schemes and layouts consistent both throughout the site and on each individual page.

    I can show you a site that I've made that I've strived for those three things, although recently the last one has been screwed with a bit (due to the company wanting particular things up but not wanting me to change the entire design). It's not a great site by any means, but I think it's a good site overall.

    http://www.connectingpt.com/

    And one that I don't think is as good (also mine):

    http://www.japancpi.com/

    See if you can note some of the differences. Feel free to point out any mistakes, too, I'm not going to be offended (though I may not have the option to change things).

    jW
     
  8. aaps59 thread starter macrumors regular

    aaps59

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    #8
    All good comments, thank you, your site looks great BTW. Il be sure to follow your advice
     
  9. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #9
    I agree with what Mal said on the design.

    Don't clutter it up with a bunch of crap. No flashing banners, 'fancy' backgrounds, etc. Make it clean.
     
  10. miknos macrumors 6502a

    miknos

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #10
    More important than design is content. Take for example The Best Page in the Universe. That guy website is ugly as hell and the bastard made 250million page views.

    Design is obviously an important part (my favorite). Should be clean (easy to navigate). It sucks when you can't find the content you're looking for. That doesn't apply if you're making a website for let's say, some fashion design, brand clothing, etc.

    Typography is important if you don't want all your visitors to use Safari's Reader to read an article. Today you can use Google Fonts or embed any font you want. Nice article with nice examples here.
     
  11. Caleb531 macrumors 6502

    Caleb531

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    #11
    That's only because 250 million people visited the site, thinking it was really the best page in the universe.
     
  12. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    #12
    Give up the idea of "the average web-user". As pointed out above, content is king. Think about the people coming to the website to view this content. You may think you are open to everyone but that is not true. If you think hard you will identify a core audience. Play to that audience.

    Try to format content to be easy to access as in putting the most interesting stuff up front. If appropriate, make it searchable. I think it is rare that people go to a website because it is nicely designed. They go to a website for the content and complain if the website is poorly designed and hard to navigate.

    You could look through Edward Tufte's books for ideas. His general thesis (greatly oversimplified) is to avoid excessive ornamentation and complication, avoid flowery fonts, tiny fonts or mixed fonts. He advises us to let the data format itself where possible.

    I think the notion of letting the data format itself is very sound advice. In my science and engineering work this means cleanly laid out tables of numbers in clear fonts. On the other hand, I met a woman doing presentations for a Sunday church service, she used wordart (I think) to create ebullient, flowery typography dripping with emotion with bright colors changing from letter to letter. In my work this would be ghastly, for her audience it totally worked.
     
  13. miknos macrumors 6502a

    miknos

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #13
    I think you're not correct. I believe those 250 million views are not from people who visit it once (to realize they've been fooled). They come back to read his (satiric) articles. Again, this is just an example. What I mean is; CONTENT is more important than design (unless it's some artistic website). Another example is myspace (THAT's an ugly website), a very visited website.

    I really like well designed websites. I even come back to check ONLY the design but that's not what most people do.

    It's hard to sell (make a user come back) a crap product (bad content) with a nice case (design).
     

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