Let’s not overdo graphics or content PDF Print E-mail
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Do not get carried over by buzz words

Mantras that claim to be build on web design wisdom come up every now and then, and people get flamboyant instantly to try their hands. There is plenty of them as of now which have engaged the fascination of webmasters. These mantras are often mutually contradictory, lack pragmatic perspective, and thrive on one extreme or the other.

To bring home the point, let’s take two of the most prominent magic formulas that have influenced the finer points of web design. One of them is the catchy line “Content is king” and other “Good web design is in the graphics” and they both unfortunately place greater importance to their buzz words than what is critically warranted or optimally desired.

Like other things in life, balancing act between these two pole apart notions is what is called for, while carving a niche in web design.

Is content really the king? No. Not without graphics

The proponent of the adage “Content is king” basically negate the possibility of graphics in the web design. Well, their concerns are understandable.  It is pretty true that graphics and animations take a longer while to load, and users might not bother to wait that long. The chances of users being turned off are there, but definitely it is an apprehension blown out of proportions.

This mantra does not think over the possibility of speeding up the download time to a reasonable extent. This mantra is also silent on the fact wherein using graphics and animations can not be done away because the nature of business necessitates it. For example, web site dealing with kids, cartoons, comic strips, games and such interactive sites.

Is Good web design in the graphics? Definitely not. It transcends it

One can not dismiss the significance of color, graphics, animations, sound etc. in a good web design. The obsession of the pundits of this notion with design aspects come to the fore when unwarranted design becomes an issue with the usability of the web site. Web sites can not afford to have the distinction of being an art museum unless it actually is.

If the design of your site happens to be incompatible with the grand design or intent of your business, there is no point flaunting it around.

The graphics or animations on your site must have its informative, contextual and most importantly, business value. It hardly needs mention here that the usability of your site and the profitability of the business you are into can never in inverse proportions. The design pleasantries on your site should not result into the shocking surprises for your business.

Therefore, it will be not in the fitness of thing to assume this catchy phrase to be all-comprehensive and universally pervading. Good web design apart, other web tools and techniques still hold good which can give a new lease of life to your site and your business as well. But you have to give a thought or two on the optimal combination of such web components.

The psychology of time and wait

There could not be a worse thing than visitors turning away from your site due to bothersome download time. It has been found that visitors do not pain themselves in waiting if download time tends to be longer than 10 seconds with 30 KB modem speed. Further, 28.8 kbps being the normal speed most surfers have access to; web pages can not have the luxury of more than 3KB if they are to fall in the category of one second download time.

Therefore, the psychology of wait of the users and the process of graphics download are to be amicably settled with. Here are a few useful findings to help you toward this end.

  • If the time on hold happens to be 0.1 second, it gives the users an impression that there is instantaneous connectivity with the system.  It is an ideal connectivity status.
  • If the time gap happens to be 1.0 second, it nevertheless keeps the users tuned though they do realize the delay in interaction with the system.
  • 10 seconds is a critical intervening moment, any longer than this may turn out to be instrumental for users to switch over to another job or site or simply wind up browsing.

Feedback during the delay

When the connectivity with the system comes to a halt, users need to given feedback as to how much time they are on hold. They need to be assured that the system has not crashed, or is not experiencing technical problems especially when waiting period is a little longer. This all adds to a good browsing experience, and in turn helps you keep your visitor tied up with your site.

Commonly in a halt meant for more than 10 second, it is advisable to use percent-done progress indicators. It gives an idea as to how long users have got to wait, and helps them utilize this intervening time on some other important tasks.

On the psychological plane, it is something to look at when nothing is at hand to do, and hence prevents the visitors from wandering around. To serve this purpose well, a graphic progress bar instead of just stating the expected remaining time in numbers is pretty desirable and equally effective.

In operation where it is difficult to dish out the expected waiting period, the use of percent-done progress indicators seems to be out of place. Therefore using some thing like a spinning ball, a busy bee flying over the screen, dots printed on a status line will be quite okay.

This signals the process to be in progress, though it does not provide specifics of its completion. Nonetheless, it takes into account the psychology of wait on the web, and contributes its bit in crating the desired impact.

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 November 2010 09:58 )

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