by Dionne Aiken
eBizMBA.com highlights the top 10 best Flash Web sites of 2009. When you have a moment, check it out. You’ll see some really neat sites! But, there’s more to a good Web site than being really, really, really good looking.
The layout and presentation of information is key. In general, information should be organized and presented, taking into account the users’ intuitive processes and actions. In short, it is important to understand how and what users will access, and navigate on your site.
At Curley & Pynn, we ask four questions to help understand what drives a target audience:
- Who do you want to reach?
- What do they know about you?
- What do you want them to know?
- What do you want them to do?
The answers to these questions can also help shape how you present the information on your Web site.
For example, the home page is the point of entry where you must grab and keep users’ attention and further pull them into your Web site. You don’t want to overload users with too much information, links and clutter. Instead create “zones” or sections that group and highlight key items that you want to call to your audiences’ attention like news feeds, blog updates or maybe a new product or service, and then allow them the option to click to learn more.
Apple does a good job of this by highlighting key items on their home page such as product announcements and headlines, breaking them into zones and then allowing the user the choice to navigate to desired areas of the site to access additional information.
We see the same thing with the Dell home page:
This idea of grouping and gradually revealing information is best defined by the term Progressive Disclosure. Progressive Disclosure is the separating of information into multiple layers and only presenting layers that are necessary or relevant.
By only presenting the necessary and relevant information first, you provide users with a quick snapshot of what they need to know and put them in the driver’s seat.
When it comes to Web site design, good looks will only get you so far. Information presentation is what helps connect your audience to your message.