web technology is a way of life
A nice continuation from a previous post of leading web visitors is a discussion about how our users find what they want on our sites. Right now the two most common ways visitors will reach your site is:
These two ways will put people either at your front door or lost in the maze. So how do you help them find more value in your site or maybe what they really are looking to find. We have a few options:
These three main ways provide the major ways that should be present on almost every page of your site. Sure this all seems rather simple and straight forward, but let’s dive a little deeper here.
Main Navigation is just that, the “main” list of pages to start with. NOT every page; NOT your sitemap. Sometimes you can easily scare or confuse someone when you hand them too many options. You can’t guide someone very well when you hand them what’s essentially your sitemap in a dropdown menu format. This should be used as a way to get to the primary sections and possibly a few sub sections that are commonly sought out.
The Search Bar is your second best tool, as this allows the visitor to feel like they can help themselves and get what they want. However it’s only useful if they know what search words to use. And it’s only useful if the pages on your site of course use the words the visitor uses (a puppy is a dog, but a dog isn’t always a puppy, thus the types of words used are very important, but then that’s for yet another post.)
Third we have CTAs which are designed to attract the eye with bold text or graphics and allow us to drive the user to places we think they’ll find interesting, that are new, or will help us empty our extra inventory. These should not be splattered everywhere and are not a replacement for quality content on those pages.
So by providing simple navigation, a quality search bar, and useful and sparing CTAs we can provide many helpful ways to guide our users along a path of our choosing (or their own with search) that makes for a better experience.
Sure these concepts aren’t new, but sometimes they need to be said over and over to make sure we don’t fall into old bad habits.