Carrying on from last time ……..
Less is More
Less clicks is always better. If you have to click through 5 pages to get to where you want does that make you happy? So why make your users miserable? Cut out excess. Get them there in 2 clicks, not 4; or better still 1.
This also applies to the submenus I mentioned last time. Don’t have nested menu, within menu, within menu. Do you REALLY need that many links? If so, you may be better having only one level of submenu (or maybe none) and then leading them to a separate page where you can lay the options out more clearly. But if there really are that many options the user may just give up looking and head back to Google. And you just lost a customer/fan.
If you really MUST have a long sequence of pages, show bread cumbs (think Hansel and Gretel) at the top. e.g.
Select Item> Your Basket > Delivery Details > Checkout
And make each one a link so at any point the user can click back to any previous point.
Look at the bottom of Excel where it says “sheet 1”, “sheet 2”, etc. Those are tabs. You’ve probably seen them on some websites, a box in the middle of a page with tabs at the top or side. That way you can have multiple options seemingly available on one page without cluttering it too much. Yes I know it’s actually more than one page – but psychologically it appears more immediate than a link which takes you to another page. With tabs the edges of the page don’t generally change, just a box in the middle, and so the change feels less distracting.
If you’re offering downloads, rather than forcing people to download an album one track at a time, offer the whole thing as a zip file. Wherever you can zip things into collections, do it. Don’t make the click 20 options when one will do.
Try It Out
The best way to find out how usable your web site is, is to watch people using it. Get your friends to use it and watch where they click and what they look at. Don’t prompt or prime them. Just sit back and watch.
Did they go to the pages you expected? If not, ask them why? Ask them if they found it easy to find what they were looking for. If they don’t have a particular thing to look for (your grandmother for example may not know what to look for on a band website or any other website) give them things to look for. Say, try to buy my CD, try to see photos of the band, etc. then sit back and watch them.
It’s good to try with a range of users, .e.g. people who typically DO look at band websites and people who rarely use the web for anything to get a wider range of opinions.
Make notes as you watch. Ask questions after. Then adjust your page layout as necessary.
Hopefully all this will help your web stats look better. Good luck.