Navigation. It is the make or break of any website. It can be your strongest asset or your weakest link.
If people are coming to your website and they struggle to find what they are looking for, they will abandon your site. This means that all the work, time and effort – hours, days, weeks, and months working to have a website put together goes down the drain for that individual. Those hours have little to no ROI, except as a potential metric of “under 10 seconds” visitor. These visitors could be your most powerful visitors, but because they couldn’t find the information which is valuable to them, they left and you missed out on the opportunity to win them over.
I’ve been pretty quiet around these parts. Busy – REALLY busy. As in, last night I thought that going to bed somewhere just before 11 so that I can wake up and be AT THE OFFICE by 5am to be a pretty good night’s sleep compared to other nights. THAT busy. What the heck have I been doing? Well – it seems that there are a lot of complex business problems which need to be solved, and a lot of it centers around figuring out how to connect with a company’s users on their level. Now, these places have a great number of users, but as many things go, over time, the way stuff has been done isn’t really working out in the long term. A lot of it comes down to business and customer growth. Just to note, business and customer growth is GREAT! But these things also introduce new challenges both internally as well as externally. From personal experience, when I am so very deep in knowledge, it can be tough to see clearly about how to solve some of these seriously intricate problems, and I’ll end up having to pull in someone who isn’t “infected” with the in-depth knowledge to keep the high level view in frame of mind. I can only imagine how this could be even more so for individuals working inside of a company facing these challenges.
A lot of the work I’ve been doing lately is under the heading of “Expert in User Experience” or “Information Architect” – which depending on who is in the room, depicts which title I’m being referred to as.
I have a Facebook advertisement gripe.
I don’t really mind advertisements on the sides. Facebook is an incredible resource which we use daily and its free for us to use, but somebody’s got to pay for the servers and employees who provide updates and security patches along with many other resources. Advertisements are a necessary evil.
Sometimes, there’s something that I really like advertised on the side, so I click. Maybe that’s stupid of me, but I want to see that item, see how much it costs, etc.
The thing that gets me is that I cannot actually FIND the item in the picture. This devalues the… value… of the advertisement. If I click, I expect to find what I’m clicking upon. The image did grab my attention far more than the words (i.e. human nature).
What I’d really like is to have the ability to FIND the object in the image. This object may be far outside the price range that I’m willing to spend. Maybe it will be exactly what I’d expect for the object to cost. Either way, I want to find said object and have the option to buy it, see reviews, read comments about it, etc.
I don’t think I’m asking for much. What it really comes down to is relevancy.
If you are a company who is providing advertisements to bolster the attraction to your business, please do your potential customers a favor and provide relevant imagery to represent your business. This not only will bolster the attractiveness of your products, it will also increase customer loyalty and trust.
In a post which I wrote previously, I talked about the power of the “done” button (among others).
I’ve recently been working on a lot of IA and am finding myself coming back to the essential contents on this post. Along with this is the discussion between alignment of said buttons and orientation.
So many interfaces (including mobile devices) differ in the placement. Even the organizational order of which comes first first next, if it’s left, center, or right aligned – all of which seem to differ. I remember the other day being confused at the store when the touch-device upgrade changed where the buttons were… I ended up accidentally canceling a transaction because they moved the cancel button to where the enter previously was! Do they really think everyone reads the buttons every single time?
A blog that I’ve read on a few occasion points to a very strong opinion on this based on user tracking Why ‘OK’ buttons … best on the right .
I feel that it comes down to contextual consistency. There are some cases where anything which is a “moving forward” action item is on the left, at which point, that platform has made a consistent effort to instill the expectation for the user to locate anything which requires action to be placed in its own space on the left, as though the person was reading and moving to the next line.
Then there is the windows phone 7 platform. This one goes all over the map, but always within the means of contextual navigation. Related actions which bring you to new screens are centered and to the bottom. Specific navigation within the context of the content delivered on the screen (such as going to contacts and then touching someone’s name to get to their profile) is directly delivered in-line, while sections of globally related content are a slide/pan left or right (think of a top-menu navigation on the web. This would be a series of globally related content items – they relate to the website and support its purpose… hopefully).
Then there are installations of applications – this one is where I get my pantyhose in a bunch where the windows platform is concerned. Every application seems to take a different direction. Some have the buttons side by side, aligned to the right, but with the “next” button first and the “cancel” second. Some have those buttons flipped, some have the next button all the way on the left where the cancel is all the way on the right…
There are so many variations! Personally, it makes sense to me that if I’m going to the next screen, that I’ll look for the next button to be directionally placed – to the far right. Where the cancel button is can differ, but this is where wayfinding comes in. We as human beings use a whole lot of wayfinding metaphors. They make the best sense considering where we’ve come from on an evolution sort of way.
What do you think? Should there be a standard regardless of platform? Is it contextual? How would you make that decision if you were the one with the power to instill that decision – or do you even think about it?