Sometimes short descriptions help

If the links aren't instantly obvious, a few words of description may help your site visitors find the link they need. Although people don't want to read paragraphs of text or uninformative, welcoming marketing messages on pathway pages, they may want brief help in deciding which link to choose to move toward their goal.

The Coral Cay Conservation organization's page in Figure 4-2 shows how you can use brief, informative descriptions with each link on a pathway page. The descriptions follow the links, and the links stand out on the page. They are not embedded in paragraphs.

The large picture pushes the information far down the page, like the FedEx example in Chapter 3.

site visitors understand one to choose.

The link, The Know Before You Go Campaign, would be better worded as "Staying Safe Overseas." That's what people want to do. They probably don't know the campaign yet, so it should not be the link name

Figure 4-2 The Coral Cay Conservation organization trains volunteers to collect scientific data to aid conservation. Its web site includes several pathway pages with brief descriptions to help site visitors choose the link they need. www.coralcay.org

The large picture pushes the information far down the page, like the FedEx example in Chapter 3.

^^N The brief descriptions help the links and know which site visitors understand one to choose.

If we rewrote this link as \ • • J "Attending an Expedition S^S Pre-departure Meeting," we would have a parallel list: purchasing, attending, surviving, travelling.

The link, The Know Before You Go Campaign, would be better worded as "Staying Safe Overseas." That's what people want to do. They probably don't know the campaign yet, so it should not be the link

Figure 4-2 The Coral Cay Conservation organization trains volunteers to collect scientific data to aid conservation. Its web site includes several pathway pages with brief descriptions to help site visitors choose the link they need. www.coralcay.org

name

On e-commerce sites, once people get to the area of the site with the type of product they are interested in, they begin to need some technical information to help them choose which products to consider further. Jared Spool calls this type of page a "gallery." These pages may show a list of items or pictures of the options within the product category. As Spool points out, if it shows only the pictures, it doesn't do enough to help most web users. That can also be true if it lists only the products by model numbers or series names.

See Spool's article at

www.uie.com/articles/

galleries.

This page is fine for me. \ I know that I want the ) UCF 12 x 25 F II. /

This page doesn't help me at all. How do I know which one of these I want? Do I have to look into each one to find out what you are selling?

This page is fine for me. \ I know that I want the ) UCF 12 x 25 F II. /

Binoculars

. MCFIifrXCF Series

■ Paoilio Series

A list like this on a pathway page assumes that all site visitors know these category names and know which one they want.

When you provide information to increase scent on a pathway page, put it in fragments or bullets - not long sentences or paragraphs. Make it useful information that your site visitors will find helpful in deciding how to move ahead. If you write only marketing hype, that's not going to be useful. If you write technical specifications with the pictures, think carefully about whether your site visitors understand the technical language.

Figure 4-3, one of many gallery pages from Dell Computers' web site, has both good features and places where it could be improved. The "help me choose" option leads to a page comparing the three notebook types on several questions. However, Dell might have done more to bring the users' words in those questions onto this gallery page. The information on the page in Figure 4-3 doesn't require a lot of reading, but the words it uses may not mean much to potential buyers.

Marketing is likely to be ignored on a pathway page 61

Figure 4-3 A gallery page has to help site visitors make good choices toward their goals.

f^S This is a pathway page. f^J Does the large picture of a computer in an empty room really contribute to helping people along the best path?

©If the names and specifications aren't enough, Dell gives people a Help Me Choose option.

©The information is presented in short phrases and bulleted lists.

But is the information in the r^i language of most buyers? What is "rapid technology integration"? What does "wide range of form factors" mean?

Figure 4-3 A gallery page has to help site visitors make good choices toward their goals.

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