4 best practices of chamber user interfacesFriday, March 16, 2012
“A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures.”
-Ben Shneiderman, Computer Science Professor, University of Maryland
Your user interface design (UI) can make or break your chamber website. Done right, your User Interface will allow visitors to easily navigate through your site and gain quick access to your content – regardless of whether they are connecting with the 27-inch iMac or the latest Droid smartphone.
Before you begin to build or redesign your chamber website, I suggest you check out Shneiderman’s “Eight Golden Rules of User Interface Design,” and consider how you can optimize your User Interface to better suit your audience.
I would also like to share with you four best practices for User Interface design that I believe every chamber should follow:
This may seem elementary, but too often chamber websites fail by trying to do too much. Make sure your site is clean and crisp. You don’t want crazy colors, animations or pictures to compete with your content. The goal should be to support your content by making it prominent.
Once the pinnacle in website design, the use of Flash is now in decline. Flash increases load time, which can result in lower search engine rankings and frustrate visitors to your chamber website. Flash is also a product (rather than a web standard), which may result in it being more prone to bugs.
Segment your website visitors
While many of you understand the concept of audience segmentation in marketing and business terms, I encourage you to also apply this strategy to your website visitors and the design of the website. If your chamber has multiple types of important website visitors, create multiple points of entry for these visitors. This will allow them to find your information more efficiently.
The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce does an excellent job of accomplishing this with their website. Their home page is extremely simple and creates a clear path to their three main topics – economic development, chamber and community visitors (see below.)
(for more examples, visit our Portfolio)
Make sure your website design encourages intuitive navigation. I will discuss usability more in-depth in a future post, so stay tuned!
I hope that my suggestions regarding the user interface of your chamber website inspired some great ideas. Remember, a good User Interface design will augment your content, but a bad design will detract from it. Your goal is to build an interface that allows users to quickly and easily access your valuable content.
I hope you enjoyed my post on chamber User Interface design. Next week, I will discuss some of the best practices in typography for your chamber website design. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!