Think of your audience
- Who are your users? Think about what they are likely to want, rather than what you want to tell them.
- What will they be looking for? Where might they expect to find it?
- Avoid grouping information that just reflects your internal structure – it is meaningless to those outside your organisation.
- Clear and concise navigation helps your users find what they are looking for quickly when they scan the page.
- Use your main menu to drive users to the most important parts of the site, and secondary navigation to allow users to narrow their search to their field of interest.
Use your homepage as a launchpad
- Use the homepage of your website to draw people through to important content.
- Use images where possible to capture attention, and a minimal amount of text – textual information about the website or project should be maintained on the “About” page!
- Change the content on the home page regularly
Make Pages Scannable
- Web users tend to have a particular task in mind. They will scan their eye down a page, looking for headings and links that relate to their objective. To help this process, chunk text into easy-to-scan content with plenty of sub-headings and short paragraphs.
Choose words carefully
- A carefully worded introduction on a page not only gives users an indication of what they’ll find, it also helps search engines pick up key words to identify the subject matter for search results.
- The tone and style of your web content should always have the audience in mind. In general use an informal, friendly and engaging ton, and edge towards the conversational and away from jargon and complicated terminology.
- Links should always be descriptive to give people an idea of what they will find – avoid acronyms or jargon that is unfamiliar to users.
- Pages that lead the user to specific content (signpost pages) should be kept short and to the point. Users should not have to scroll down these pages. Obviously, once you have directed a user to the content they are after, you can afford for pages to be longer. Once someone has found the information they are looking for, they will be more likely to stay in once place and read (or print) the page.
- Don’t put lots of time-sensitive information on your pages if you do not have time to monitor and update them regularly.