All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips

Start at the end
July 30, 2009, 4:56 am
Filed under: taxonomy / naming, usability basics

When designing a new website, don’t start with the homepage.   And don’t start by listing all your content and then organizing it into buckets.  Why?  Customers don’t care about your homepage or site organization – they care about getting their task done. 

They care about finding the lowest-cost left-handed hammer that you carry.  Or finding out how much weight that kayak can carry before it sinks.  Or what the best digital camera is for their Hawaii vacation.  That’s where the designer should start — with a clear understanding of what the customers want to do at the site.  And then work backwards from there to design the site around successful completion of those key tasks.

When designed around content, a site might have links to “product manuals”, “application notes”, “parts” etc.  When designed around successful customer endpoints, the same site may instead have links to “installing your product” or “comparing models”.  True, customers can probably succeed in either taxonomy, but the later will more quickly resonate with what the customer is trying to do and will therefore instill more confidence that they’re on the right path to getting their answer.


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