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Web design presents a challenge few have mastered. We have all used web sites that provide us with what we are looking for, and many more that don’t, but what makes some sites more appealing than others?

This tutorial explores the importance of having clearly defined and prioritised objectives when developing web sites.

So what is the purpose, or objectives of a web site? Primarily, to help customers, or other stakeholders. Ask yourself “How can my web site help my customers?”

  • Help them buy something they need.
  • Help them find information.
  • Help them to save money and time.
  • Help them to talk to the organisation.

These 5 ways of helping customers represent the 5 ‘S’s, 5 web objectives, as discussed in the separate ‘Introduction to eMarketing’ course, but this time from the customer perspective.

  • Help them buy something they need – Sell
  • Help them find information – Serve
  • Help them to save money – Save
  • Help them to talk to the organisation – Speak
  • Help them to enjoy a great web experience – Sizzle

Design priorities do vary. For example some sites focus on service, other sites focus on sales. Clarifying the key objectives, purpose or priorities helps to determine the content and structure of the site.

But what brings visitors back again and again? What are the key variables? What brings you back again and again to you favourite web site? If you don’t have a favourite then ask a friend.

A recent survey showed that web users believe four main factors encouraged them to return to a site Other factors such as coupons and offers and leading-edge technologies were insignificant in comparison. Now you know these top 4 criteria, how does this affect your perception of your favourite website?

What improvements would you make to ensure the site’s long term success?

Well designed sites have clear objectives. The 5 ‘S’s can help you to choose objectives. Asking “How can my web site help my customers?” also helps. But remember, an overall priority objective or purpose focuses the web site design.

To summarise well designed websites always:

  • ask how the site Helps their customers and
  • have clearly prioritised objectives.

And ensure:

  • quality content
  • easy to Use
  • quick download
  • frequent update.