SEO is an obvious way to make users aware of your website – Technical aspect: Making sure the proper words can be found on your website by search robots – Marketing aspect: Making sure your website contains the words a typical user will use when searching for a website in your category. Getting other sites to link to your site.
Search Engine Optimisation How is a page found by a Search Engine? Web Crawlers follow links – so make sure there are links to all your pages How is a page ranked by a Search Engine? Secret…!
Search Engine Optimisation Page rankings – Internal factors – title, headings, body text, alter- native text, keyword distribution, domain name – External factors – links from other pages. The higher ranked the linking page is, the more the link will count. How often users click on the page in a search result list
Search Engine Optimisation How can I know which keywords a typical user will use when searching for a similar website? Ask them! A job for the Usability Lead Google Adwords – suggestions for keywords
Search Engine Optimisation A Search Engine cannot see text in – Graphics (logos, banners, etc.) – Flash animations – Video – Audio (oh, really…) – Graphic links – Links depending on dynamic code
Search Engine Optimisation So, I’m about to write material for my website… …what should I actually do…?
Search Engine Optimisation Avoid writing consciously for SEO Write for the readers, not for the engines External factors are given more importance than internal by modern search engines (Google)… …so the material must be interesting and relevant for actual human readers!
Search Engine Optimisation Still, you can often hit two birds with one stone Review titles, headers, page bodies, etc – do they actually contain relevant words Take the user’s point-of-view – what would the typical user be looking for?
Search Engine Optimisation The Global Catastrophe Bla bla bla bla bla…
Search Engine Optimisation World War II : The Global Catastrophe Bla bla bla bla bla…
Search Engine Optimisation Where to put keyword/phrases: – Page titles – Major headings – First content paragraphs – Text for links to other pages – Alternative text for images – HTML file names and directory names
Search Engine Optimisation Grammatical form matters (Tiger <> Tigers) Case does not matter (Tiger == tiger) Context does not come automatically! A Tiger is also a – Carnivore – Large cat – Panthera – Threatened species
Search Engine Optimisation Enough is enough! Delicate balance between plentiful mentioning of keywords and ”keyword spamming” Exact limit unknown… Rule of thumb, at most 5-8 % of total word count
Search Engine Optimisation We can also ”optimise” the use of keywords with regards to humans Users do not divide their attention uniformly over a web page (eye-tracking studies) – Golden triangle – F pattern Cat
Most important in page rankings – other pages that link to your page! How to achieve that…?
Search Engine Optimisation If the site is part of a large company – Request that main (often visited) company pages link to your pages – Get included in site maps, etc. – Get featured in a ”what’s new” section on the company home page
Search Engine Optimisation If the site is a stand-alone site – Find link partners: You link to the partner, the partner links to you (link building) – Potential link partner could be a ”complemen- tary” company, not a competitor – Example: you sell swimsuits, the partner sells sunglasses – Should be worthwhile for both sides
Search Engine Optimisation Create links from other websites yourself – Find popular (and preferably relevant…) blogs, forums, etc, and leave comments including links to your own website – Sign up your website to link catalogs A delicate balance…
Links and navigation Most websites cannot be contained within a single web page Information Architect should – Decide how to split content across multiple pages – Decide how to navigate between the pages
Links and navigation Fundamental types of site structure – Linear – Hierarchical (shallow) – Hierarchical (deep) – …and combinations
Links and navigation Linear structure – the user is ”forced” to visit the pages in a certain order Well suited for – Instructions / Guides – Surveys / Questionnaires – Ordering and Payment – Subscription – …? Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Links and navigation Hierarchical structure (shallow) Can navigate to many pages from a given page Distance from start page to ”end” pages is low (< 3) Well suited for small websites (< 10 pages) S A.1 A.2 A.3 A.4 B.2 B.1
Links and navigation Hierarchical structure (deep) No fundamental difference - navigate to many pages from a given page Distance from start page to ”end” pages is can be high Breath vs. depth…
Links and navigation How to organise a website with 1000+ pages… Very ”wide” – Few clicks to end pages – Many links on each page Very ”deep” – Many clicks to end pages – Few links on each page
Links and navigation …and combinations! Many sites willl need to use both types of organi- sation Web-shop – Presentation (hierarchical) – Sales (linear)
Links and navigation Links in general serve two purposes: – Links to other, external websites – Navigation within the website
Links and navigation Why link to other websites? Unless that is the specific purpose of the website, limit the number of external links – Users leave your website (will they come back?) – No control over the linked-to website (form, content,…) Integrate relevant material into your own website, if possible
Links and navigation How can we ”serve” links to the user…? – Classic, explicit link (www.cnn.com)www.cnn.com – Text-anchored link (read about tigers here)tigers – Part of a navigation structure, e.g. menu – As a graphic or using other types of metaphors
Links and navigation Advice on text links – Avoid too many text links in bodies of text – move to the end of section if possible – Make sure links stand out (e.g.like this)this – Make sure that visited links are distinguishable (e.g. like this) – Avoid writing sentences around links: Bad: Click here for more informationClick here Good: The tiger lives in the junglejungle
Links and navigation Menus is a very common way to organise a set of ”similar” links Most users are used to menus from various software products Are menus old-school…?
Links and navigation Where do we put a menu…? ? Best for reading… Normal in software…
Links and navigation What is a metaphor? One explanation: A metaphor is defined as a figure of speech, or something that we use to replace normal words in order to help others understand or enjoy our message In the context of a website: Wrapping a link into e.g. a graphic, to make the function of the link more intuitive
Links and navigation Example: What will the below buttons do, on a website with linear structure…?
Links and navigation Why use metaphors…? – More intuitive – Usability – Align navigation with general visual design
Links and navigation Find your local weather forecast…
Links and navigation What will a 5-year old prefer…? …or text links?
Links and navigation Using metaphors, we assume that the user actually understands the metaphor… – Law of Isomorphism – Culture, bckground, … Usability tips – Provide helpful text i mouse-over tooltip – Link should react to mouse-over
Page composition Isn’t it boring just to use a ”standard” page layout…? Maybe, but consider – It is a well-established layout – Not all parts are mandatory – Still many degrees of freedom left (colors, graphics, text,…) – Can you really ”beat” the standard…?
Page composition Page header – Establish site identity – Global navigation (Home, about, contact,…) – Search, shopping cart,… – Home link (easy way home) – Acts like a ”miniature version” of the web site
Page composition Breadcrumb navigation – ”Where am I…?” – Particularly useful with large, deep, websites – Not really necessary on small websites – Enables the user to skip back to levels high up in the hieratchy tree – ”Doesn’t the Back button do that…?” – yes, but using the Breadcrump is easier
Page composition Scan columns (what’s that…?) Columns at the edge of the page where users will ”scan” for useful information – Contact information – Advertisments – ”News of the day” – …
Page composition Main content area Hard to provide general rules, but – Include clear page title – Update breadcrumb navigation – Include go-to-top links on long pages – Use general rules for text formatting – Include dates where relevant
Page footers Usually contains useful, ”static”, information – Author information – Copyright statements – Contact details – Useful general links – …
Page composition I have a web site to create, where do I start on page composition…? Create page templates to be filled with actual content Start with ”internal” page templates! Work from the inside towards the (unique) home page (landing page)
Why not start with the home page…? Home page is ”unique”, only one instance Internal pages will occur in many instances The internal pages will thus dominate the users experience of the site Do not let the design of a single page ”hijack” the entire site design!
Page composition Internal page templates Created by Information Architect (and possibly Art Director) Main purposes – Logical fit to the information architecture – Provide consistency across the website – Establish ”look-and-feel” of the website
Page composition More than one template might be necessary… …but should have consistent ”look and feel”
Secondary page act as sub- section home pages They must provide navigation to underlying sub-section, and to main home page They should establish some level of identity – could be alternative landing pages
Page composition The home page itself… Four main elements – Identity – Navigation and Tools – Content – Timeliness
Page composition Where should your focus be…? – Does CNN need to establish identity…? – Does Google need to worry about timeliness…? – Does Coca-Cola need to worry about content…? The exact balance between the element will be completely situation-specific General design principles still apply Consistent with secondary and content pages
Page composition And finally…do not put a fancy Flash animation ”in front of” your website Users will be annoyed – some will go away, others click ”skip intro” Can prevent web crawlers from getting access to the real page – and thus the website! Avoid!
Gestalt Laws The standard page compo- sition ”pattern” seems to be well-established; it works! But…why does it work…? Because it employs many of the Gestalt Laws
Gestalt Laws Gestalt Laws are a part of Cognition Psychology – how we percieve things in the surrounding world Gestalt (from German) means ”a whole structure or form, that emerges when a set of smaller, simpler components are combined in a certain way” Not a perfect translation…