Clean Concepts: Address Your Visitor’s “Pain”

    June 30, 2003

This is a peer review of by Ken Hablow.

Inf-inet says they are satisfied with their traffic but not their retention or conversion rate. My first comment is, building a business site (not a pure e-commerce site) for search engine based traffic is worthless since Web design is a referral business. It is one based on networking and satisfied clients.

With that in mind I would concentrate on what the prospective client may be looking for. This encompasses text content, design and navigation. All this needs to be tied into the visual experience.

When I first logged onto the site I had a hard time with the visual. There is too much going on at the top of the page. Not to mention it is near impossible to read the white text in the black bar. This alone is confusing, not to mention the three graphics on the right that detract from anything else on the site. This right column forces the page to be too wide. These same graphics appear on every page and do nothing but distract and take up real-estate.

A clean concept in site content layout is to address the potential client’s pain issues right at the top of the page, or “above the fold.” Many of the Inf-inet pages talk about Inf-inet first and the pain issues are near the bottom.

The images take up too much valuable real-estate “above the fold.” These can be made smaller and the space better utilized for content. Inf-inet is not selling the photos, they should be used for accent and design elements. The current pages feature the images, not the message.

This is as confusing as it gets. There are four different navigation schemes on the home page. Five if you count the Live Support link. There is the top bar, the DHTML under the logo, the three ugly images on the right and the drop down list. Where are the “top of page” links to make it easy for people to get back to the top and use the navigation? Where is the text only set of links that should be at the bottom of every page?

I would use one navigation scheme and incorporate the three links on the right into whatever system is used. If the company does not want to use the DHTML system then each of the main areas, Web Design, Web Hosting, etc. can be links to other pages that each has a secondary set of links.

This gets personal, but I like fixed width text. Some may argue the point of using tables vs. CSS but tables give you much better control of how the text will appear. Text that simply flows down the page is boring and people will not read it. People do not read Web sites anyway, they scan. The use of titles and bullets will hold a person’s interest. Longer text can be on another page with a “more” link. Text should be kept to a width that is easy to scan without causing excessive eye or head movement.

Web designers who have never done print design seem to not understand eye flow. A Web page can be laid out to entice the site visitor to continue down the page or to click to another page, much like a well designed print ad.

Support can be as simple as a FAQ section and perhaps a moderated discussion board. The use of instant messaging works well, which they already have on the site. Since there is probably more support needed for hosting and e-commerce questions than anything else I would concentrate on these areas.

If they want to differentiate current clients from potential ones, then the use of a login page will suffice with whatever they want behind the login. If they maintain an Account Manager section they can have a link to a special email address that serves current clients. Some companies provide “customer only” telephone numbers.

That’s just an observation from a first look at the site.

Ken Hablow

KH Graphics
Tel: 781-647-0233
Member of the Enterprise Group,

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