There is much emphasis put on getting website to the top of search engine listings these days, but the equally important aspect of providing users what they need is sometimes neglected. When a user arrives on your site, they want to achieve specific goals.

Where's Wally - the fun books and pictures in which you have to find specific characters "hidden" in the picture is a great past-time, but not a foundation for good website design. On the web, your site is just another one in a long list provided by a search engine. When a web user clicks on a link on a search results page for "garden tools", they want to know immediately that the site sells garden tools, they don't really care (at this stage at least) about other things your business might offer, they need to know that this is the site that will fill their goals. Web users will only spend a few seconds deciding if you offer what they are looking for and if they don't see it, they'll be off to the competitor's site.

Usability expert Steve Krug1 tells us that his first law of usability is "Don't make me think!" Users need to be able to use your website without putting too much thought into the process. They will not spend time learning how to accomplish something through your website, they'll just click off to an easier site. Krug's research shows that when a user enters a new site for the first time they need immediate answers to four questions:2

  • What is this [site]
  • What can I do here?
  • What do they have here?
  • Why should I be here - and not somewhere else?

To achieve this, you must use visual clues, well-written text and meaningful graphics to immediately reassure and convince the user that you offer the products or services that they need. To turn a potential web user into a real customer, requires more than merely designing a good looking website. Site structure, page content and the ease of use of the website are critical.

More than one doorway! People have a terrible habit of not doing things the "right way". They sometimes enter websites through pages other than the well-defined home page! This needs to be taken into account when the site structure is defined and all of the pages on the website are designed. The key - don't make your website users think!

In one of his usability articles, Jakob Neilsen3  points out that the first rule of e-commerce design: if the customer cannot find the product, the customer cannot buy the product! In one of his research labs, Neilsen discovered that 55% of user failures observed were caused by bad content, typically incomplete or unclear information. The quality of the content on a web page is paramount to turning browsers into purchasers and valued customers.

At Maweb, we take great care in the design and layout and content of all web pages to ensure that users know they have reached the right page and are more likely to complete their task. We spend more time on the initial work and getting these things right than some web designers, but we feel the extra effort bring rewards in attracting new customers to the business. Get in touch with us and we'll discuss creating or updating a website that really presents your business to the world on the web.


  1. Krug, Steve -  Don't Make Me Think (ISBN 0-7897-2310-7) , p11
  2. Krug, Steve - Don't Make Me Think (ISBN 0-7897-2310-7) , p101
  3. Neilsen, Jakob -