Dude, Three Dos for Smooth Site Surfing

When people surf, they’re on a smooth fun wave, and they like it like that. They like to ride that wave, feel the glide, fly through the wind and see the earth move under their feet. It’s exhilarating!

That’s how people want to surf when they are on your website.

So, don’t scatter your website with coral reefs, riptides, or men in grey suits (sharks)! Instead, make nice smooth fun waves of pages and let the sun shine warm with a friendly navigation on your website.

Here are three bitchin (great!) bits of advice for all you web usability kooks (beginners) out there.

1. Label things from the visitor’s point of view.

Don’t make a link labeled “Click here to discover who we are” then take them to a page that is labeled “The Team Mission”. Your visitor’s flow gets blown out (ruined) like a wave gone to mush.

Instead, connect the dots nicely and give your pages the same label as you give links. It’s nice when we click on a link that says “Learn About Us” and we go exactly to a page with the big words at the top that
say, “About Us.”

2. Add excitement where you can.

Instead of small waves, make big pumping swells (big waves)! They’re more fun.

Therefore, where possible, point out WHY someone should click a link or WHY someone should fill out a form or WHY someone should buy a product. Highlight the value.

For example, next to your newsletter list form, instead of saying, “add your name here to get on my email list” try “get life-changing tips and keys to overcoming obstacles when you get on my email list.”

3. Use conventions that people already know.

Boards have a front and back. Boards have a top and bottom. Boards have leashes that attach to your ankle. These are how boards were designed and they are what people are used to.

It would be gnarly (dangerous) to attach the board leash to your wrist. It would be nearly impossible to surf on your head. And, surfing with the board upside down won’t work.

Similarly, to keep your website cooking (good for surfing), you should use common website conventions that people are used to, such as:

  • A consistent menu of links across the top or down the left
  • Make buttons look like buttons: circular, shadow, colored, maybe some glossy shine
  • Use underlining only for links and make links blue in color
  • Have the name or logo of your website at the top

In summary, if you apply these simple smooth surfing suggestions to your site, you’re visitors be stoked (excited) to read your pages, fill out your forms, and buy your stuff.

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