While browsing some of the self proclaimed “progressive” websites, I can’t help but notice it’s almost like walking through a house of mirrors – very few, if any unqiue qualities that make a company, product or service “really stand out”. This is partly due to a shift in how we consume information (via RSS). It’s easy to grab a ready made blog and start in (heck I’ve done it myself), but at what cost?
We’re so blinded by the Hype of Web 2.0 that we seem willing to trade in our identity for a better user interface. I mean Web 2.0 is all about creating a better user experience right?
If we continue down this current path, we’re creating an even worse experience because while things “look” exactly the same – they are completely different. Imagine a can of Coke, but with Black Orange Crush inside.
Don’t be fooled, creating a better online experience isn’t really as hard as it seems, just follow some simple rules:
- Usable and Relevant Content - The more specific and refined your content is, the better chances it will easily fit on to your page, and the higher the odds are your viewers will both be able to find it, and actually read and understand it.
- Usable and Accessible User Interface – The easier your website is to use, the more people it is available to and the faster your users can find what they want so they can get the heck out of there, the better. Remember, time is very valuable.
- Plan for (and show) change - Let’s face it, it’s not Web 2.0 that will answer your problems, it’s planning for Web 3.0, 4.0 and beyond. Keep your site and products constantly updated. The moment you go stale is the moment people stop paying attention.
- Be Unique – Don’t be afraid to stand out, especially if you’ve done all the above properly.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the leading experts of visual presentation, usability, web standards, marketing, design and development, people like Jeffrey Zeldman, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin and Jakob Nielsen. Take what they say seriously and as experience but not gospel. Apply a little common sense with a little experience and you should be just fine.
If you are nodding your head in agreement but simply do not have the time, resources or energy to see this through don’t worry. You can always hire me to do it for you. firstname.lastname@example.org