The Sizzle and The Steak
10 Simple Rules of web design:
- Quick to load: Pages (especially the home
page) should load in 5 seconds or less, even on a dial-up modem.
- Quick to understand: The user should understand
what a company does -- and whether its something he needs -- within
- Easy to navigate: Logical structure, and clear
- Useful Content: The user is looking
for answers. Give them.
- Compatibility: Pages should adhere to standards
and work on all browsers, including older versions on slower
- Multimedia with a purpose: Use of
audio, video, and interactive multimedia should be used only when
serves a purpose,
never just for the sake of design.
- Flash and Frames: Use of Flash™ and
the use of frames prevent can search engines from being able to find
the content of your page. Fewer people find you. Also, people can't
bookmark specific content within your page. Use them only
when they serve a purpose.
- Universal accessibility: Design sites
to be used by all people. Text-based content, use
of ALT tags, and well thought-out layout all support
compatibility with speech programs for the blind.
- Search Engine Optimization: The days
are gone when piling keywords in META tags would help you rank on
Today the rules are
much more complicated. There are ever-changing ways to boost your
in search engines, but the best method remains the same: have
lots of relevant, well-written content on your site.
- Make it look good: Sure, usability comes first.
But its gotta look professional!
The old maxim from the world of advertising tells us “Sell
the sizzle, not the steak.” But on the web, users are hungry for
People go to the web looking for answers. They
go to the web looking for information. And they want to be able to find
it. They have specific questions. If the answers aren’t there, if
the answers aren’t
fast, and if the answers aren’t easy to find, they’re going
to go to someone else’s
site for the answers. And someone else is going to get their business.
A truly useful site will be remembered, will be
bookmarked, and will be visited again. People will tell other people,
and add links from their own sites. More people will use the site. And
users will become customers.
But sizzle is important too. The best sites are an effective mix of steak
and sizzle. Attractive, innovative design helps communicate a level of
professionalism. But sizzle should never get
in the way of making the site useful, easy to use, and quick to view.