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What Your Site Users Want

  • "Don't make me click, wait, and get something I don't want."

In the previous storyboard article you learned how to draft a web site "storyboard." And you found out how important it is to build your storyboard from the perspective of your target audience.

Web users want near-instant gratification for clicking into your site. The information they want should be no more than one or two clicks away. Accordingly, your "home page" should show them -- clearly -- how to find what they came to your site to find.

Here's where your storyboard becomes your best friend.

Top level: the "home" page

Take a bit more time with your storyboard, and add a single yellow sticky or index card to your cubicle wall, above your row of "who" notes. That represents your "home page." Your "whos" (web users) must be able to see an obvious path to their "what" interest(s) from there.

On your home page, you should use any reasonable combination of the following to lead your "whos" to your "whats." In descending order for download speed, favor:

  • A Fusion Text NavBar, with clear Custom Text labels for the target pages.
  • A Fusion Button NavBar, with clear Custom Text labels for the target pages.
  • A javascript component, such as CoolMaps Dynamic Menu 2 or AllWebMenus, with clear custom labels.
  • A mid-size graphic with hotspot links.
  • The Fusion 7 javascript flyout Button NavBar.

Your home page should require no scrolling for users to find what they're looking for. Therefore it should contain a relatively minimal amount of information "above the fold" (the top 400 pixels) besides:

  • A one paragraph statement of "who" your site is serving,
  • The "what" links we've already discussed, and
  • How to contact you for further information.

No matter what web technology you decide to build into the "home" page, it must lead your users to their "whats." Your child and further sub-levels (the rest of the storyboard) must be clearly and easily available.

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Second (and third) level site pages -- your user "what-s"

Your sub-level pages should satisfy anyone who followed your links to get there. Sub-pages in your site may have long scrolling text and/or larger graphical content, and thus somewhat slower download times.

But no matter what, they must also have:

  • Content worth looking at (from the user's viewpoint, not yours),
  • Links to all related "what" pages from your storyboard, and
  • Links back to "home" or to the sub-page that took them where they are.

Web users hate getting "lost" or (much worse) misdirected. Help the heroes of your online Hansel and Gretel fairy tale: always leave "a trail of breadcrumbs" for your users.

And don't let the trail mysteriously disappear within the depths of your site. That is like telling users, "Sorry, the webmaster's birds ate your bread crumbs."

Your users won't apologize for clicking back to Yahoo or somewhere else if you let them get lost. They'll just do it, and you may never see them again.

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Bring your storyboard to life

NetObjects Fusion's Site View is where you build the structure of your site. You've done the important work already by making a good storyboard.

Now, construct the same structure in Site View as you have on your storyboard. This is where the power of NetObjects Fusion truly shines: with a good storyboard, good navigation will almost build itself.

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