Friday, October 30, 2009

Web site design

Web site design is a complex subject because there are so many different approaches to an effective web site. As always in marketing, think about the target audience and corporate objectives first. We looked in class at some ecommerce sites that seemed busy but yet were successful because that layout is what the audience wanted to see. In general, it is useful to have the purpose of the website and any relevant offer in the upper left hand 'golden triangle' area of the site. Often this area is a good place to put a search function as well as the reader's eye will go to the upper left first. We get this information from tracking eyeball movements for many subjects and displaying them on a 'heat map.' The heat map shows where people click on the site, that cearly 'above the fold' is where eyes are resting and how eye movements also form an "F" shape inside the Golden Triangle. The heat map of a Google web search shows why people want to be in the top three or four searches. http://www.ahfx.net/weblog/79 We looked at ideas on web design from Mary Lou Roberts, Jan Zimmerman, Amy Africa and finally, Dr. Zahay! Some independent sources for good web design and customer service are Forrester.com and Bizrate.com. Dr. Zahay likes sites that load easily, use breadcrumbs, are easy to naviagate, use 2-3, clicks, and have easily available contact information. Trust is an important part of web site design because the user must trust the site to exchange information or do business with the site. Even so, the students said they do not look at Truste or other trust seals on the web in deciding to do business with the site. Again, for marketing, web site design and usability are strategic and not technical issues. Web site development is often iterative as companies find out what works and what doesn't in web site design and make changes accordingly.
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