What makes a successful website? When it came to addressing this question I went to one one of my closest sources, my neighbor. Chris is self-taught and never went to school for his job. His parents own an Internet company in Edmonton and he has always had extensive knowledge about the internet. For the past year, he has worked at a start-up company called Granify, as an artificial intelligence and user experience specialist.
To simplify what Chris does, he knows what website shoppers are going to do before they do it. I sat down for a coffee with Chris over the reading break to discuss with him the differences between a successful website and an unsuccessful website.
Chris first established that the main goal of essentially any good website is to get the viewer to view as many ads as possible to generate money for that website. Have you ever been online shopping then gone to a website like Facebook and noticed an ad or product from the previously website has followed you? This is called Retargeting and companies do it all the time to generate more money. All these companies need is that one impulse moment for their online customers to cave and decide to buy something. I can’t even count how many times this has worked on me.
To make and design a successful website, Chris stated two questions that companies need to answer.
- What is the purpose of your website?
- What is your business objective?
Web sites then need to have something that will catch the viewers attention and start them on a journey. Usually, this is through photographs or headlines.
This is taken from the Anthropologie website and encourages viewers to shop the collection.
Viewers are going to look at websites and decide almost immediately if they like it or not. They will address questions like…
- Does it provide what I am looking for? (Is there a clear guide present on how to get to what they need?)
- Will this website accomplish what I am trying to do?
- Does it fit the device I am using? (This is a huge problem for website designers!)
When it comes to an unsuccessful website, Chris explained he thinks the biggest mistake people make is starting from the beginning. People will lose interest quickly if they can’t find what they are looking for on a website. I asked Chris what his biggest piece of advice was and he says people should always think about the end product first and then move backwards. Simple is always better!
-Samantha Watson Penner