Are you comfortable with your site and the message that it provides to your site visitors? If you visited your website for the first time, would you be able to find relevant information?  Would you want to find out more about your company?  Do you think that your current website design provides your users with easy to find information or provides them with obstacles and causes frustration?

We see our site every day, know where the information is located and how to navigate the site.  Due to this we take our site for granted and don’t realize that the information and message could be delivered in a different manner which could increase visitors and members.  For the most part, visitors will spend very little time on your site if they can’t find what they are looking for or determine why they should stay on your site vs. your competitor.

To know your site a little better, conduct a small test for 20 seconds.  Have five people who aren’t familiar with your web site visit your homepage and view your site for 20 seconds. Can they:

  1. Tell the name of the company or association?
  2. Tell what the company or association does?
  3. Want to perform an action? (i.e., request more information, view item of interest, etc.)

In most cases, you will find that the majority of your test group will not be able to answer all three questions  with the correct responses.  Review the results, see where your biggest challenge lies.  It is with item number 2?  What does your company or association do?  Or is it with item number 3?  The content of the page didn’t make the user want to perform an action?  If the test group had any problems with answering any of these questions, targeting your design to addressing this area should be considered.

Your website is a valuable resource and keeping it up-to-date with a design that lends itself to your audience is the best way to ensure that your visitors and members support your organization.

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Design standards should include:

  1. Make the site purpose clear – explain who you are and what you do;
  2. Help users find what they need – emphasize the sites top priorities, include a search box for the user to quickly search and access other information;
  3. Site content – use your best content on the homepage, provide links that are SEO friendly, they make sense and include the title of the page content;
  4. Use visual design to enhance, not detract, from the content and overall message of the design. Don’t clutter or have too many flashy images/pictures, etc. Clean and simple is best and visual elements can help bring focus to the most important elements of your web site design.

Your website is an important part of your company and organization.  It is your chance to make a first and lasting impression to new visitors, to potential new members, and returning members.  You want your visitors and members to be able to find your site and organization easily, determine the purpose of your company and perform an action that keeps them on the site.  Visitors need to know why your company or organization is better than your competitor and why they should stay on your site vs. visiting other sites.  A design that meets design usability standards will assist in ensuring that your visitors stay on your site and return to your site.