Cutting through the web

Whether we want to or not, most of us spend most of our time online these days. Whether for work, for social networking, information hunting or simple bill payments, everything is more or less available at the click of a mouse, so there isn’t much reason for us to step outside. 

Everybody understands this so there are millions of websites available now, each with its own design, utility and features. While this mass online-ization / internet-ization has its own pros and cons; that is not something I’m going to get into in this post.

In this post I want to talk about what makes a website stand out among the millions that are available. This is very important for anyone who is trying to run a business through a website, sell a product or just convey information / news. So before I get into what makes a website click for me, let me talk a bit about what makes it not click:
  • Cluttered design: Too much happening on a page? Doesn’t work for me. I take it as a sign that either the person behind the website is not clear about what he wants to say or is confused
  • Unclear message: Not a single clear message coming out from the website? If the visitor is confused about all that is going on in the website, he or she can’t get the essence of what is actually being said. If the visitor can’t understand what is being said, he or she won’t know what is expected out of them next. So an unclear or vague or haphazard message doesn’t work for me. I like clear simple sentences and easy to understand language.
  • A layout not suited for the intended user: You must have heard that the first 10-30 seconds are all it takes to make a good first impression on the person you’re talking to / meeting for the first time. So everything right from layout, colors, images to design is important. You can’t have a very colorful and jazzy layout if the intended audience is scientists of corporate decision makers.
  • Too many ads: I know websites are trying to make money, but non-stop popping ads that block the screen are the biggest no-no for me. There are times when I log into news websites and it refuses to open till I watch a complete YouTube ad before. What do I do? I shut the website and never go back again.
  • Too many clicks to get to something: I understand security and all that. But if I have to click on five things before booking a movie ticket or reaching a secure part of a website or even see a photograph accompanying an article, it is very irritating.
  • Broken links: what can be more disappointing than landing on pages that don’t exist! This just shows unprofessionalism or poor quality.
  • Dated info: If the website has not been updated recently and the last update was three months back, mostly I’m never going back there.
  • Spamming spoilers: Websites that forcibly add me to their mailing lists or SMS lists just because they had access to my information are the worst of them all! I hate it when I am not shown the basic respect of being asked whether I am fine with being added to a list or being contacted. It’s even worse if my data is used without permission or intimation. This, according to me, is the most cardinal sin of them all.

Respect my privacy!

Now, What do I love in a website? 

  • Images: great images with perfect resolution hook me to a website. I love blogs that are accompanied by great pictures.
  • Simplicity: If I got what I wanted from the website in an easy and clean way, I definitely go back there.
  • Speed: Sounds basic but I hate websites that take forever to load, no matter which connection I’m using.
  • Being recognized: If a website recognizes me from my last visit and recalls me preferences or interests, it is great. Who doesn’t want to be treated like a friend!
  • Solving my problems: if the website recognizes me, there is a likelihood that it will know what I am looking for and there is a greater probability that it will solve my problem. So if I am looking for information on a particular brand of products within a particular geography and it lands on my screen like gifts on a platter, I will surely go back to the website.
  • Rewards me for my efforts: There are times when I have been asked to fill a questionnaire or a form at online shopping websites. Mostly I do it, as a regular customer but at times I have done it diligently and happily because I was given a 25% discount on my next purchase or a sudden Christmas gift of something as simple as an E-book! Wow, websites that are my secret Santa? Love it!
  • Respect my privacy: Ask me before adding me to a mailing / SMS list. Don’t use my data till I explicitly ask you to. Respect my trust and show good manners.
  • Perfect function: A website that functions well and has accurate links / information is the basic necessity of any website. So I feel that the lead time to actually putting up a website should be really long and filled with research and tones of test runs.
  • Something different: I like websites that are creative and offer me something different. What I notice is that once a website or business does well, many imitators spring up. So if one online shopping site did well, we had ten others like it; if one social networking site did well, we had ten others like that. While this is understandable, I like it if the imitators have put a lot of thought and brainstorming into offering me something new and interesting!
  • Mobile version: I’m not sure what is the technical word for it but I like websites that open well on my mobile / tablet. Given the fact that most of these gadgets have become a way of life now, I hate to see websites that need to be endlessly scrolled sideways on my phone. It just shows that the website creator is not moving with the times.

I wish all websites were like...

Google. (Period)

I love the Google website. I think all website developers should take lessons from Google on how to design something that is so uncomplicated and yet to amazing.
  1. It is simple and easy to navigate through.
  2. The way their doodles change to suit the season, country and occasion makes me feel very connected.
  3. The website services are very reliable and effective every single time – I have never had a failed request or bad page.
If there is anything I ever need, I don’t think twice before going to Google. And I don’t think there is anything that will change it for a long long long time to come.
Of course I know that the function of the Google website is so simple that it allows for this kind of simplicity, but there are still lessons to be learnt from them. For me, Google is like a website design school in itself.
Recently, a web-fanatic friend of mine showed me another website that just blew me away. Through its absolutely simple design, perfect images, easy to scroll / find data features and most importantly, uncomplicated language / message – I vote this as the one of the best websites that I have visited. Ever.

This is the website I'm talking about. I am an information hoarder, who loves to read about new trends, who followed industries and news and who loves to discover new information. Adayinbigdata allows me to do that – it is perfect for someone like me. I know it is evolving and there are new things coming up or being added to it, but whatever I saw, I really loved and clearly understood. Not surprising then, this website has won many accolades like "website of the day" (mentioned on their home page below) and much appreciation already.

This post is written for a contest hosted by WebRiti and The Blog Bowl. Images are from Pixabay.


Red Handed said…
MOBILE VERSIONS!!! The best thing ever!!!
Cannot imaging huge web pages slowly loading into existence!
Canary said…
So true, RH!
I have no patience with websites whose mobile versions are unfriendly and take ages to load!
An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.
Amrit Sinha said…
Loved the way you highlighted the points :-)
Saru Singhal said…
Right! Simpler, less clicks and mobile versions are the best features for me. Great post, good luck for the contest. :)
Swati Singh said…
Great informative article! written well ...
thanks for sharing
Canary said…
@Andrew: I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this post. We're inevitably dealing with so much data and information online that it's important for the websites to be friendly-us!
Very happy you dropped by and hoping you do so again!

@Amrit: Yes, especially I highlighted layout and simplicity as one of the important criteria! (It was important I follow the rules myself) :)
Canary said…
@Saru: I so agree, Saru! Thanks a lot for your wishes! You'e always such a delight to read that I love to hear from you here :)

@Swati: You're most welcome, I'm glad to be of any use with my posts! :)
deeps said…
just staying free from wen-world once a while is really a challenge now, but sth needed
Canary said…
@deeps: didn't understand you? :)
Arti Honrao said…
I agree with each and every point mentioned in this post!

Canary said…
Thanks so much Arti for dropping by and am very glad that you agree with my thoughts on a perfect website among the scores available on the internet! :)
Rahul Bhatia said…
Agree, Keep It Simple Silly(KISS philosophy)
Canary said…
Well said Mr. Bhatia, couldn't agree more! :)

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