21 August 2010

It pays to be useful

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50 ways
In this review of the book 50 Ways to Make Google Love Your Website, published by The Hindu, the author emphasises very strongly the importance of usefulness.

“Create your website for your users, advise Steve Johnston and Liam McGee in “50 Ways to Make Google Love Your Website“. Every design decision should be referred back to what we know about the users of the site, not simply to the beliefs, prejudices or even brilliant insights of the site owner or the site?s designer, the authors urge.

In this user-centred world you can only pursue your goals through supporting the goals your users have, because your users don’t start on your home page; they start at Google, as reads a sobering thought in the book. Typically, the users type in a query that reflects their goal, and the pages that Google returns will be those that Google believes supports that goal, namely the most ‘useful’ pages it can find.

And if the users arrive on your site and do not immediately see something that suggests their goal will be supported, they will leave, the authors caution. Reminding that the web is a pull medium, not a push medium, they note that the power is with the user, not the site owner, which is why it is more important to design for their goals than for yours.”

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