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Looking At Your Site From The Outside

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It happens so often that we concentrate our attention on our own business that often we miss the way that our customers sees our business. In our own store or one that we’re designing we know exactly where everything is and also how it works so we often assume that someone who is not familiar with it knows everything that we do about finding what we want.

There are so many factors to consider that someone who is very familiar with the business and the site might miss. Is this website easy to navigate. Can a human visitor find exactly what they are looking for with just a click or two? Is there a search feature that will give some possible pages to visit even if there are no exact matches for the search term? Is the site so concerned with pleasing the search engines that human visitors are not shown anything that keeps them interested in seeing more?

Is all of the contact information readily available? Email, snail mail and phone? Speaking of the phone if you are giving out the number, when a customer calls can they easily speak to a real person who knows how to connect them to the person or department that they want or are the callers caught in a never ending loop of recordings?

Sometimes what I like to do when designing a site it really helps to step back from it for a while and then go back a while later and look at how it works with a new perspective. Sometimes I’ll show it to my customer first without any explanation as to how it is supposed to work and find out if they can easily find what they want.

Jackie Baker writes in the Search Engine Guide about having someone who has absolutely no connection to your site give it a once over and they give their honest opinion. There’s some more good advise there.

Read Fresh Eyes Often Find Unmet Expectations

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