Many site visitors are landing inside your site

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So far, we've focused on web users who come into your site at the home page and navigate down into the site through your pathway pages to the information they want. Certainly, some of your site visitors do that.

Nielsen and Loranger (2006, 27) found that "interior pages accounted for 60 percent of the initial page views."

But many web users bypass those pages. In fact, on many web sites, more site visitors come through an external search engine than through the home page. That's a reality. You have to assume that your

Many site visitors are landing inside your site 67

information pages inside the site are also going to be the starting point for some of your web users.

Yet, I still see many web pages that are dead ends, like the Denver page about schedules for street sweeping in Figure 4-7.

Denver Public Works

Listedbeloware (Kr schedules fur Denver*! Strrrl Maintenance Division sweeping programs. For additional information, please call C20) B65 tSff For Street Sweeping Reminder Sticke ft, call the Parking Management hotline number at '20 9 [3 or

STREET MAINTENANCE

CITY-WIDE DISTRICT SWEEPING PROGRAM

Figure 4-7 When people have no sense of the web site to which a page belongs, they may wonder about the credibility of the page and of the entire site. All pages should share the web site's global features.

Pages like this give people no clue as to what site they are on, where in that site they are, or how to get to the home page or to anywhere else in the site. Sites with pages like these are losing great opportunities to share all the other wonderful information or products they have with site visitors who come directly from an external search engine.

Every page in a site should have

• the site's logo, name, and tag line (the consistent masthead at the top of the page)

• the site's global navigation (assuming it has tabs or other ways of indicating the major sections of the site)

• links to relevant information within the same part of the site - and elsewhere on the site

• a clear link to the home page, making it obvious what "home" that is

It's fine to make the logo and site name at the top active as links to the home page; many experienced web users expect that. However, that's not enough. You also need a link that says "home" for those who don't know to click on the logo or name. That can be either a text link or a tab, depending on how you set up your site's global navigation.

f^k This web page is like f ji J an orphaned piece of paper.

f^S It has no logo, no web f fZJ site name, no links - to home or to anywhere else on the web site.

If your part of the site is a subsite of a subsite, you may have several home pages going back up a pathway to the main home page. If so, label every "home" link clearly. I've watched usability test participants feel completely lost when a click on "home" takes them to a different home page than the one they expected.

Pages inside a site that have no connection to the rest of the site expose rifts within the organization to the outside world. They send the message that the people doing this part of the site don't feel that they have to cooperate with the larger community of the organization. They indicate that no one is managing the larger organization's site with enough clout to bring everyone together. The web content owner - and the organization - and the site visitors - all lose out on the value the web brings of connecting content in one place to relevant content elsewhere on the web site.

SUMMARIZING CHAPTER 4

Here are key messages from Chapter 4:

• Most site visitors are on a hunt - a mission - and the pathway is just to get them there.

• People don't want to read a lot while hunting.

• A pathway page is like a table of contents.

• Sometimes, short descriptions help.

• Marketing is likely to be ignored on a pathway page.

• The smoothness of the path is more important than the number of clicks (within reason).

- Don't make people think.

- Keep people from needing the Back button.

• Many people choose the first option that looks plausible.

- Think carefully about the order of information on pathway pages.

- Put the most important information and links high on the page.

- If you want people to select one link over another, put the one you want them to select first.

• Many site visitors are landing inside your site.

- Don't let your pages be dead ends.

- Provide links for site visitors to get elsewhere in the site - home, other major sections, and other relevant content.

Writing

1—

Information,

Not Documents

5

In this chapter, we tackle three important issues:

• Breaking up large documents

• Deciding how much to put on one web page

All three issues relate to helping people get just what they need, when they need it, in the amount they need, as quickly as possible.

Right information at the right time in the right amount.

Multipurpose

r

Home

\

V

Pathway page: scan, select, and move on

Pathway page: scan, select, and move on

Navigation

Pathway page: scan, select, and move on

Pathway page: scan, select, and move on

Destination Our focus in this chapter

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