Does your web site facilitate the new breed of layman users? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 July 2010 14:40

There is a dramatic surge in the number of layman users

Internet has got virtually deep down penetration across the globe, and the profile of its users has also gone a sea change. Over the years, the internet has come out from the prerogative of select users of scientific and defense community to mass accessibility. And probably this is the temperament of this so called cyber age where people have just started to treat computers as just another thing that is indispensable to modern human existence.

Today the use of computers is not necessarily confined to high–tech professionals, but has spanned over all functions and disciplines including common man for his everyday’s purposes. Hence, there is a awful number of users who browse through the Internet on a periodic basis, and their surfing skills are at best rudimentary. Time is ripe for making your web site superbly user friendly.

This new breed of users with minimal exposure to browsing is vulnerable to encounter a little more difficulty in even a web site that is otherwise user friendly. Here is an important point not to be missed out that this new breed of surfers can be a great prospect for your site when their needs are understood and correspondingly catered to.

The need of the moment is to make your site excessively user friendly so that they are not lost on the web, and they do not just wind up browsing in sheer hopelessness. They need to be guided through simplistic features to help them know what to do next in order to get what they are looking forward to.

This sort of users lacks fundamental competence to search the stuff on the Internet effectively, faces hiccups in navigating web site and looks in astonishment while dealing with typical annoyances on the web. Their utter inability to understand your site often lead them to another site in search of ease, and it does constitute losses for you!
Designing your web site in such a manner as will enable them to learn quickly and steer clear the way to enriching experience is what is required in this regard.

But before making your web site layman friendly, it is essential to get the pulse of the browsing tendencies and habits of layman users.

An insightful look at the online behavior of layman users

Here are some interesting observations on the typical behavior of relatively new users while they use the Internet.

It is quite amazing to learn that new users have been found to practice a novel method to log on to a particular web site whose URL is known to them. They have been observed to type in the URL in Google search, and subsequently clicking on same URL in the returned search pages.

A report from Metacrawler, an Internet research firm, reveals the fact that search queries like "hotmail.com", "www.hotmail.com", "Google", "Yahoo” etc. are among the top search engine queries. It implicitly proves that people do not seem to know that they can access any site by simply typing its URL in the browser address bar.

While going through the returned search pages of Google, new users tend to read the titles of the pages, which they think are closest to their search criteria, and click on such hyperlinks.  Hence, the titles of the pages in search results have to be strategically written.

Haphazard pieces of information clustered all through the page not only confuse the users but also scare them. Unsystematic organization of content on the page and a low count on readability make them feel that desired information is non-existent on the page. The randomness of content simply turns them off because they do not bother to look deep; they just scan and skip.

It has been found that new users are not comfortable with pop-up advertisement windows. They mistakenly close other windows, ponder over how to go back,  or even close dial-up connection in their attempt to deal with the pop-ups. It has been seen that layman users are not at ease to manage multiple browser windows.

Helping layman users to browse with confidence and convenience

In the light of the above observations, a couple of simplistic features might be added to your web site in order to tap the traffic of layman users. Definitely such features will be contributing to the overall usability of your site in a positive way.

You can not afford to miss the listing of your web site in prominent search engines. It has nothing to do with your offline advertising campaign however aggressive it might be. Such advertisement will of course help your URL gain popularity, but chances are not distant that some new users end up complaining that your web site could not be accessed. Not to mention here, getting listed in the search engines has got its own bundle of benefits.

If you wish to have your own start page for the users of your site, it pays to place search engine links or a search box onto that page. This will help layman users to stick to your start page.

It is clear now that the titles of the pages in search results are crucial for click-throughs. Therefore, the title of your page should be in accordance with the key words you are optimizing the page for. The title should be enticing and relevant enough to be clicked on. Each page of your site has to be individually optimized for a particular key word for a good traffic.

There can not be any hard and fast rules in using pop-ups and newsletter subscription windows. It essentially depends on the proficiency level of users who visit the site. It is always preferable to have test run of such features before implementing them throughout the site. Once you experience the loss of traffic due to such features, it is a subtle indication that such features are not for your site. The crowd visiting this site is dominantly layman users, and hence it is to be a lot more user friendly.

The learning advantage

In short, capitalizing on the idiosyncrasies and rudimentary skills of this new breed of Internet users can open the gateway of more traffic and hence more revenues that can eventually translate into your web success.

 

About Author
Deepak Sharma is a design thinker, creative director, writer and brand strategist at BlueApple Technologies. He is process-oriented and passionate about structured communication, creative concepts, captivating design solutions, and user experience in a broad sense.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 January 2015 12:08 )
 

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