What makes a good website? Here are our top ten
Over the last few weeks, I've looked at how you can use your website to bring in more volunteers and donors.
In these posts, I highlighted how important it is to keep your website up-to-date. I also urged you to consider who your website’s target audience will be. That's easy to say, but not necessarily easy to do. Or is it? Before you do anything to your website, you need to dail in what you like your user to do on your website.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say. That's nice. I want to know what makes a good website. All these blogs talk about is making sure our websites are easy to use. SO, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!?
I can't tell you exactly what this looks like for your website. I'd have to know who you are and what your organization's goals are first. But, I can share a list of my troop's favourite websites and tell you why the monkeys like them.
Here's the list, in no particular order...
When asked for his favourite website, Yan submitted Tesla Motors. Yan likes the site because it is:
Simple: Everything Yan needs to find is on one page. When Yan wants to find something, all he needs to do is scroll down the page and click. Once he clicks on something that interests him, it is nicely presented to him.
Usable: The top (main) and other (sub) navigation are clear and well structured. In other words, the website anticipates what Yan might look for. This makes it easy for Yan to find the information he’s looking for.
Marketing Strategy: The video playback within the page is an effective marketing strategy. Yan likes the video playback because the video shows the car’s features in a logical order. This makes Yan feel good about choosing Tesla Motors.
Shopping Experience: The website shows Yan a preview of the car from different angles. The car's different features are broken down in an easy-to-read two column layout. The result? Yan knows exactly what he’s paying for.
John includes Sales Force Marketing on his list of favorite websites. John likes the site because:
User Experience: The site provides John a nice user experience. The balance of interactions between the design and content elements is clean, clear, and cohesive.
Information Architecture: The main menu and site navigation are clear and each page gets one main point across.
Resource Section: The resource section is nicely broken down, and makes it easy for the user to find what they are looking for. The design also effectively illustrates what each content piece is about.
Mobile: The site is formatted to work on mobile.
Chris lists Medium as one of his most favoured web sites. He explains that,
“Medium provides an easy reading experience. Medium also does a good job of connecting like minded individuals while feeding me articles I am interested in reading. Their mobile experience is also well done. They get it. They know how to present things that people are going to read.”
Spindrift Racing tops Denis’s favourite website list. Denis likes the site because it incorporates a good design with fantastic animations. Another perk for Denis, the website is multilingual.
Justin’s favorite site is Mint. Mint tops Justin’s list because of its simple design and its effective use of SEO. It also helps that the site works well on mobile. Plus, we like that the website is made on Drupal.
By the way, Justin also likes Tesla Motors. But he’s more concerned with the vehicles they sell than the actual website, so I’m not sure that counts as a second vote for Tesla.
Why does Gabriel like The White House best? It’s fast and has a slick design. What more do you really need?
It’s also worth noting that the White House chooses to use and trust Drupal as their website platform. This is a good point to bring up when your immediate supervisor asks about security concerns. If she/he still isn’t convinced, point out that NASA uses Drupal too.
Rick likes Feedly best. In fact, I see him on it every day. Rick inputs the topics he would like to know more about into Feedly. Then Feedly organizes articles about those topics for him. Feedly takes out all the extras and shows Rick information he actually wants to see and nothing else. For a guy that’s always on the go, simplicity and accessibility are pretty important.
Lizzie’s favorite is Houzz. Lizzie likes Houze for the content and content layout. The site gives architects and interior designers a platform to display their portfolio. Every product links to a location where you can buy the product. This makes it easy to buy the products you like with one click. The site also gives you a central place to explore designer portfolios. Plus there is a section where you can search for designers in your area.
Calvin says Weight Watchers is his favorite site. Calvin likes the website’s front end (which, in normal speak means the part of the site you see). He likes it because it is “pretty clean and modern.” The site also looks great on mobile.
The user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are great. This is because the design is simple and intuitive; the site is also very responsive. And, the site is multilingual.
Each of the above sites serves a different purpose and interacts with a different kind of user. No two sites look the same. There are, however a few similarities to keep in mind when you are thinking about your own website:
The designs are simple
Learning more about a product or purchasing a product it is easy
The information can be found quickly
Information is easy to read and interpret
And yes, I know, just because something looks easy and simple (just think about the complex yoga pose your flexi friend can do), it doesn't mean that it is. But, like I mention in part 2 of my post on "How to think about your website so you attract donors and volunteers," even small changes to your website can make a huge difference!
And, as per usual, let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or if you would like to get started on your own website project. We can always be reached at [email protected]
If there is something specific you would like to read about, let me know at [email protected].
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