Free Web Site Advice

Advice and Commentary on Web Site Issues

Archive for the 'Communication' Category

Five Ways to Keep Your Web Site Fresh

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

By now, we all know that static Web sites are boring, right? (Right?) And that search engines prefer sites that are updated more frequently. But all those content changes don’t just write themselves. So… how do you do it? How do you get your site updated more often, and with what? First step: take a [...]

Evaluating IA and UX — High Level Topics

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

When I start an Information Architecture or User Experience project, there are some fundamental questions I ask myself (and the client). Getting good answers is crucial to moving forward. Who’s the primary audience? What’s the business goal (…or goals, in priority order)? What is currently working? What is not working (and why)? What is the [...]

Confusing Homonyms

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Be careful to use key words that are simple and clear for your visitors. Web site visitors don’t really read — they scan. Usually, they look for highlighted text and other noticeable keywords that give them quick clues to 1) “What’s on this page” and 2) “What can I do from here?” The trick is [...]

Where Am I, What Can I Do Here?

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

One of the biggest problems I see with Web sites has to do with user orientation. A business owner designing his site already knows what his business is and how the site is laid out — so he neglects to provide the most basic of information: where am I, and what can I do here? [...]

Everyone Will Love This Post

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Here’s some writing advice: avoid using superlatives in a row. It makes you look bad, and casts doubt on other statements you make. I just read the following from a respected (until now) agency: “Everybody in attendance loved the day, making it one of our most successful events.” Really… everyone? And they all loved it? [...]

E-mail is Dead, Long Live E-mail

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Okay, e-mail’s not really dead. It’s still the one thing people get about the Internet. Even with all the junk mail and viruses cramming into one’s mailbox, people still check their e-mail. So, a few weeks ago, I was speaking to a potential client about a project to help their organization understand that there might [...]

Reverse in Lists Your Making

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Web space is crucial, and user tests continue to show that many users don’t scroll down to see content that falls below the screen bottom. So if you’ve got a date-oriented list, maybe it’s time to think in reverse — put the newest date at the top and the oldest at the bottom. This might [...]

Finding Links In Text

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

Pay attention to where and how you place hyperlinks in text on the screen. Here are guidelines, with dead-link examples : First, be sure your style makes the link look like a link. Use a distinct color. Nielsen and others advocate for keeping it the browser-default blue; I don’t see anyone getting confused by a [...]

Organizing Information

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

We’re reorganizing our Intranet right now — or, more accurately, keeping the department-centric organization but overlaying task-oriented navigation. Task-oriented is customer-focused, and it’s a better way to organize information into useful groupings so that your target audience can find it. But task-oriented comes with its own set of problems, especially over time as new content [...]

The (Unexpected) Power of Persistent Information

Monday, June 7th, 2004

Something happened today that highlights how close to the surface every page on your site is, even if you’ve buried it in your navigation. Someone was doing a photo search on H. Claude Hudson, the first African-American graduate of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. They came upon the August 2001 issue of our campus e-newsletter, [...]

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