1. The Experience Belongs to the User: Designers do not create experiences, they create artifacts to experience. This makes all the difference.
Most of us spend 3+ hours online every day using a myriad of devices with screens that require near exclusive attention where over 1 trillion web pages and millions of mobile apps are competing for our time. To help you be effective, Fresh Consulting has selected 7 of its 50+ principles that assure your application or website is sweet and stands out from the rest.
1. Design should focus on an experience
People don’t always remember information presented, but they do remember what they feel. Advertisers focus on selling to our hearts, so why shouldn’t you? As Geoffrey James, in an Inc.com article states, “[It] is not the information itself that is important, but the emotional effect that the information has on your audience.”
This is why User Experience Design, or UX design, has become such an integral part of web and application work. It should effectively weave together a combination of text, graphics, layout and interactive elements to ensure users have an experience, not just an informational view.
With all of the complexity and quantity of information we are swimming in, differentiation matters. If you scan through today’s interfaces, they incorporate more visuals, more story and more emotion to help convey why theymatter in the sea of competitors. This brings us to our next point…
2. People scan websites, they don’t read them
Make your website scannable because users don’t read websites the way they read other material. Is it any wonder why the use of infographics has become standard fare for anyone looking to convey sets of data or instructions? Research shows that “users switch from scanning to actually reading the copy when web content helps [them] focus on sections of interest.”
Case in point, you probably are not going to read this entire article, rather scan the headlines and dive in where you want to read further. Making your interface scannable will make it simpler for today’s audiences, which brings us to our next point…
3. Users crave simplicity and clarity
It takes as little as 0.5 seconds for visitors to decide whether they are interested in a website or not, so be clear with what you want users to do. Today’s interfaces need ‘preferred actions’ to be as obvious as possible. User’s should not have to think about what you want them to do. For example, it could mean focusing visual attention on one button vs. four on your home page.
Everyone loves a good tip, right? Here are 55 quick tips for search engine optimization that even your mother could use to get cooking. Well, not my mother, but you get my point. Most folks with some web design and beginner SEO knowledge should be able to take these to the bank without any problem.
1. If you absolutely MUST use Java script drop down menus, image maps or image links, be sure to put text links somewhere on the page for the spiders to follow.
2. Content is king, so be sure to have good, well-written, and unique content that will focus on your primary keyword or keyword phrase.
3. If content is king, then links are queen. Build a network of quality backlinks. Remember, if there is no good, logical reason for a site to link to you, you don’t want the link.
4. Don’t be obsessed with PageRank. It is just one isty bitsy part of the ranking algorithm. A site with lower PR can actually outrank one with a higher PR.
5. Be sure you have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page of your site. And, if you MUST have the name of your company in it, put it at the end. Unless you are a household name, your business name will probably get few searches.
6. Fresh content can help improve your rankings. Add new, useful content to your pages on a regular basis. Content freshness adds relevancy to your site in the eyes of the search engines.
7. Be sure links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrase. In other words, if your target is “blue widgets” then link to “blue widgets” instead of a “Click here” link.
8. Focus on search phrases, not single keywords, and put your location in your text (“our Palm Springs store” not “our store”) to help you get found in local searches.
9. Don’t design your web site without considering SEO. Make sure your web designer understands your expectations for organic SEO. Doing a retrofit on your shiny new Flash-based site after it is built won’t cut it. Spiders can crawl text, not Flash or images.
Beginners to SEO make mistakes either because they are not aware of some factors or because they don’t understand them correctly. It is also a fact that SEO is a fast changing industry and what worked a few months ago may not work today so you need to stay educated and informed about the latest developments.
I present below what I think are the 10 most common SEO mistakes to avoid and what to do instead to give your rankings a boost.
Some people believe that by using the Google keyword tool before creating their content, they are somehow cheating. This is nowhere close the truth, it is in fact a big mistake. The Google keyword tool will give you an indication of what queries searches use to find you and by including those keywords in your article or page you make it easier for them and for search engines.
In addition, another common mistake most webmasters make is going after the popular keywords believing that they will get more traffic. The truth is that high traffic keywords are mission impossible due to the competition. Instead you should target low completion, long trail keywords that are easier to get good rankings.
You can read how I use the Google keyword tool (real examples included).
This is probably the biggest SEO mistake and despite the emphasis given by both Google and Bing still some web sites do not have unique titles for each page. The most common mistakes are:
Descriptions should also be unique (between 150-160 characters), non-keyword stuffed and attractive to the user. A good description can increase your click through rate (CTR) and if your content delivers what promised in the description, it is more likely to have high conversions as well.
Read my seo tips for beginners article (point 1) on how to SEO your page titles and descriptions.
Social media is one of the best and most effective ways to promote your web site or new content. It is a huge mistake if you are not active in at least one social media platform. Most SEO experts agree that social signals are gaining more ground as a ranking factor and besides the SEO benefits, social media is also a good source of traffic.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.