What is ‘Conversational Web Design’ ?

Coding is the tip of the Iceberg

I love to learn all about the technical side of web development. It seems that knowing how to use all those cool tools and languages is really only one step of the Web Developers work flow though. At least unless you enjoy sitting in a dark corner all day I guess.

I’ve also looked into Graphic Design and Aesthetics which are important aspects to consider, but of late I have hit upon another really big area of study for an aspiring Web Developer.

Usability

I’ve finally gotten around to reading two oft’ recomended classics ‘Don’t make me think!’ and ‘Letting go of the Words’   I’m learning all about why planning and using conventions are so important on the Web . Clever functionality, flashy design, and style  must be constrained in order to promote usability and allow the site to server its purpose.

Web users are often in a rush and are looking for specific information. Unlike with a printed document, Web has the interactive ability to ‘teleport’ people to the information they need.

Good web sites should be conceptually  like a load of index cards. Each card is endowed with a byte size bit of information. The navigation, structure and search facilities must allow people to find what they are after.

Accessibility is really a combination of good usability and adhering to best practices. People using assistive devices will have ten times more trouble sorting out a poorly designed site.

A Telephone call, not a Filing Cabinet

When people access web sites you can think that they are starting a conversation with the sites owner. Wow, I never though of it like that… even though  I worked in customer support for ten years !

By using personas and scenarios designers can understand the typical flow of interaction a user might go through. Above all, remember that your competitor is often only one click of the back button away !

 

Marketing

Here is one more gem I have found recently. It’s a really good course called Critical Business Skills for Success  

The course covers Strategy, Marketing, Organisation Behaviour and Finance/Accounting

The finance and accounting part is a bit much perhaps, however I really enjoyed the rest of it. Particularly  the section on Marketing is relevant to Web development, mainly for business related sites of course.

Web sites are no longer an optional asset for companies I guess . Having a bad, annoying or generally sub optimal site is arguably worse than not having one at all though !

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