When a customer or prospect comes to your website, they usually do so with a specific task in mind. In most cases, they have little or no interest in reading everything on your site, but only that which gets them further down the path of their intended purpose.
The same applies to all, irrespective of the path we are learning on, be it about cosmetics, or finance. Nobody reads each and every word on the page, so staying apt and to the point is important. Just like how we do, talking about finances and the best binary and forex trading platform, like HBSwiss that has been here since long, giving great returns since inception; get more information about it here.
If you have information or a service that is important to your website users that you want and need to communicate to them, you must not use language or design elements that hide this from them.
In industry terms, websites and their elements are said to have a “perceived affordance.” These aren’t two terms that are often used together in common vernacular, but a short:
- Perceived – What people think (they can do)
- Affordance – What can actually be done with or at an interface
If the two don’t match, then the object is said to have poor perceived affordance. But what you need to know is that a preponderance of poor perceived affordance will cause your website to fail.
Jakob Nielsen wrote about this problem in his recent article, “Top-10 Application-Design Mistakes.” He says that you can tell you have a perceived affordance problem when:
- Users say, “What do I do here?” – (This should be obvious to them.)
- Users don’t go near a feature that would help them. – (If it would help them, then it needs to be highlighted at logical places.)
- A profusion of screen text tries to overcome these two problems. – (Lengthy instructions should not be needed, and they won’t be read anyway.)
To demonstrate his point, Nielsen wrote about an interesting and persistent problem — that sometimes objects in a Web design look like they should be clicked, but are not clickable. His example was something that looked like (but wasn’t) a button, but the same can problem occurs when people use underlined text on websites for anything other than a hyperlink.
(Did you see the difference?)
But not all affordance-perception problems are related to interface issues. Marketers can also fall into this trap by hiding the true purpose of their ads — by making promises that cannot be fulfilled without effort that make the endeavor less valuable.
A “marketing” example
Last night I bought a plane ticket to New York from a very popular travel site. At the end of my checkout process, I came across a promo that told me I could get a $20 rebate if I would just “Click Here.”
Curious but skeptical, I clicked on the promo only to come to a page that told me that to capitalize on this offer, I had to agree to a “trial subscription” for whatever it was they were selling.
Once the trial period expired, they would make things “convenient” for me by automatically deducting $14.95 per month from my account. On a page full of text, graphics, and fields, here is the fine print:
I had no interest whatsoever in what they were selling, and the promo gave me no idea what I could expect. In fact, because the conditions necessary to get $20 cash back weren’t spelled out (nor did they mention any conditions existed at all), the promotion was misleading — something that is becoming increasingly frowned upon in a society that claims to value transparency and authenticity.
In the case above, the deception hid something that the company wanted to hide, but it still amazes me how many companies hide things that they think give them a competitive advantage.
They’ll shove it under “About Us” and leave it there. They’ll use cute navigation names and calls to action that hide the true purpose of the resulting or subordinate pages just to satisfy executives. What they fail to realize is that people aren’t looking to be sold to. They’re looking to accomplish something that probably has very little to do with the managers of the company or the bonuses they relish.
If you have information that may help people accomplish their tasks or be more comforted that they are making the right choice, aside from constructive design constraints, you should not force it upon them, but make the information accessible. When you do so, make sure people know 1) that the information is available and 2) how they can get to it, if they want it. – Cam Beck