Don’t make me think!
The number one most useful concept that I have learned and will apply in the future, is not to make online users think more than they have to. Layout and navigation should be obvious and sticking to standard conventions is the best bet. A website has only seconds to draw the user in and if they have to work too hard to acquire information for little or no benefit they will leave and more than likely they won’t be back. Patience is no virtue to online web users and this fact needs to be kept in perspective while creating a site.
Usability Trumps Design
This is a really important concept to keep in mind when designing a site. Although design is important to raise interest, promote a brand and evoke a feelings it is beneficial to think of the design as secondary to the actual use and goals of the site. There are examples where sites have been more focused on the visual pleasure that the purpose of the site has been overlooked. This can cause confusion and frustration for a user and if that’s the case the last thing they care about is how nice it looks. Being overly creative in design elements can lose potential customers and clients. A successful site must be both visually pleasing and user friendly and the balance of both is an art.
My Bad Habits
I know I have a lot of bad habits when I am online, for example I have no patience. I skim, I skip, I click, click away, I speed scroll…What I have learned is that these bad habits of not being able to focus on something for more than 3 seconds before changing my mind or being bored, are actually the majority of online users. This at first was shocking, then comforting. Im not alone! Knowing this makes it even more valuable to cater to users who don’t have the time or patience to spend reading long paragraphs of text or locating information. By being clear, concise and breaking up long text with headings, subheadings and highlighting strong points will draw in and keep a user longer.