Web Pages- The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Let’s talk web pages. Specifically, what makes a good one. It’s easy to tell when a web page is bad, but harder to nail down exactly what makes a good one… well… good! I’ve compiled a short list of guidelines that all good web pages have and listed an example of a page that follows these guidelines and one that does not.

1. Make it snappy!

Don’t bore your readers with long blocks of text, or worse long unbroken blocks of text. People have very short attention spans and if they see a long block of text, they’ll most likely skip right over it. According to Smashing Magazine,

“Users don’t read, they scan. Analyzing a web-page, users search for some fixed points or anchors which would guide them through the content of the page.”

This is important to keep in mind when potentially adding pop ups for things like email lists. If reader’s attention spans are already being tested, a pop up might make them exit your web page entirely.

2. Consistency

Having a sense of consistency across a web page is very important. Different fonts, sizes and layouts can confuse the reader and make a web page more difficult to read. This also includes having an aesthetically cohesive and color-theory friendly set of images across your web page. Consistency leads to a more professional look that can elevate your content.

3. Functionality

If people can’t navigate your webpage there is no hope for them to understand any information you’re trying to give them. Having an easy to understand set of tabs or home page button will help keep your readers on your web page for longer. Why would anybody stay on an incomprehensible website? Here are a few tips from Hubspot about how yo keep your webpage easy to understand:

  • Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (and near the top of your page).

  • Include navigation in the footer of your site.

  • Use breadcrumbs on every page (except for the homepage) so people are aware of their navigation trail.

  • Include a search box near the top of your site so visitors can search by keywords.

4. Keep in Convenient 

Knowing why people are coming to your webpage and making it easy for them to find or interact with that reason is an important step in running a successful web page. Conversionxl.com uses Fitt’s law to better explain,

“Fitt’s law stipulates that the time required to move to a target area (e.g. click a button) is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target. In other words, the bigger an object and the closer it is, the easier it is to use.”

To illustrate this, Spotify makes it “play” button bigger than other buttons because they know that their users are there to play music. Buttons to create playlists or skip songs are also there but smaller because they know people will mostly be pressing that play button. Keep things simple and easy to find.

5. Keep your Web Page Updated

I don’t think there is a faster way for somebody to leave a web page than when it seems like it hasn’t been touched since 2004. Having an outdated layout or design makes it seem like you don’t care about the site any more and might not even be operating it at all. In addition to aesthetic problems Adobe Blog also says to keep updates on things like,

  • Dead links. A user can easily become frustrated when they click a link on a site and receive a 404 error page in response.+

  • Check your website for typos.+

  • Make sure all media content is loading correctly ━ no broken images or videos.

If you’re not taking your web page seriously than neither will your reader.

Now that we know what a good web page should look like let’s look at an example of one:

Screen Shot 2019-07-14 at 3.28.18 PMScreen Shot 2019-07-14 at 3.29.01 PMScreen Shot 2019-07-14 at 3.29.16 PM

I’m not the first person to praise AirBNB’s website and I certainly won’t be the last. It’s easy to use, consistent with design, updated constantly and is filled more with visuals rather than text. The one problem I find with their web page is that they now offer “things to do” above the actual room postings, if they want to follow Spotify’s logic of having the play button bigger because people click on it most, they would have room postings first because that’s what people are really on their site for.

A web page that’s in need of a little help would be Sinopec,

Screen Shot 2019-07-14 at 3.41.06 PMScreen Shot 2019-07-14 at 3.41.40 PMScreen Shot 2019-07-14 at 3.42.05 PM

This web page is very outdated and difficult to use. Buttons are broken and lead to no where and the page itself takes about 5 minuets to load. The navigation is confusing and full of unnecessary additions. After looking at their site for an extended period of time I can’t say I’m completely confident in what this company actually is.

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