Scanning The Pages

There is one book I recommend to anyone involved in building, updating, maintaining or even using, a web site in the travel industry; It’s called Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. Why do I recommend this book? Because it’s a short read (less than 200 pages) packed full of information on how to make a successful website.

One of my favorite parts is Chapter 3: Billboard Design 101: Designing pages for scanning, not reading. All of us (myself included!) are guilty of putting to much of the wrong kind of information on a page. Typically we assume that everyone looking at our site will want to read every single detail of what we have to say, however this isn’t necessarily correct. What really happens when someone looks at our site is they first scan over things to see if it matches what they are looking for in some way.  Scanning things is difficult when there is noise floating around the information.  In most cases your visitors are trying to find the piece of information that they were originally looking for and things like excessive logos, flashing graphics, even text that isn’t of interest to what the visitor is primarily interested in are all distractions.

This leads to an interesting point that your site should have one topic per page.  As an added bonus, this can also help with rankings in search engines, as the entire page is devoted to one topic only. You can see a good example of this on my demo site, under the “Vacation Reviews” area.  The first page explains why there are reviews, which reviews are available and how to submit your own review.  Each of the individual pages focuses on just one topic, the destination and/or resort being reviewed. Take the Moorea review for example; this could have been one review about my entire trip to Tahiti and Moorea, however it makes more sense split out as two separate reviews that link to each other, that way visitors who are only interested in Moorea don’t need to read about information for Tahiti.

Some ways to make it easier for users to “scan” your site:

There are many ways to make sites friendly for users to “scan”.  If you’ve seen an interesting technique on another site, or have a unique way you make your own site “scan” friendly, leave a comment!

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2 responses to “Scanning The Pages”

  1. […] Online Just another WordPress weblog « Scanning The Pages Turning A Negative Into A Positive […]

  2. […] Don’t make your customer think.  Tell them what they need to do.   […]

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