PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT SINCE 1994
There are lots of valuable sources available today with tips for website design. When says "sincerity wins the day", they mean basically the same thing as the Boston Consulting Group does when they say "develop relationships of trust and security". And when BCG says "use rich information to improve sales and product mix," it's much like iDecisionMaker's precept that shoppers must "get smarter at every click."
But maybe some basic communication principles would do just as well. In 1975, the linguist H.P. Grice suggested that logical exchanges operate under certain rules. The first rule is quality, which means making sure that the information you supply is true. The second rule is quantity, not giving more and not giving less information than is required at any point in the interaction. "Content" is a buzzword, but making sure your customers get just the right amount of content to meet their needs, so that they can navigate effectively and learn from the time spent on your site, is an art mastered by few. The key is to test drive your site and experience it from the perspective of an objective user who's always one click from leaving forever.
Grice's third rule is relevance, the need for each subsequent step in a process to be logically linked to the previous step and clearly related to an overall context or situation. If you click on a link expecting to learn something about the material a shirt is made of, but instead up pops an "associative" ad showing you five different ties that match the shirt, what are the real chances you'll expand your purchase rather than just clicking away to another, less trendy but more interesting site? Slim.
H.P. Grice's fourth rule of logical communication is manner, which he says means being clear, concise and unambiguous. Have you ever arrived at a site and felt disoriented by the fancy dynamic graphics and shifting text fields? What is the message the designer wants to convey? How long is it supposed to take to "get it"? There's a difference between information and entertainment. How much of one will you tolerate in order to get the other? Grice also suggested an umbrella concept encompassing all four rule categories, the cooperative principle, which means that the participants in an interactive exchange must agree what the topic and purpose of that exchange is. Visitors to your site are going to make a split-second decision on whether you've managed to establish a cooperative principle that informs their navigation experience.
The iBizMagazine.com Staff
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