Commercial Websites – Information Or Titillation?

As every small businessman knows, ignorance of the law is no excuse. And for that matter, ignorance of the net is no excuse either. You might not end up in jail for failure to know what you’re doing on the net, but it can end up costing you a lot of money.
It’s for that reason that I suggested in an earlier article that it would be a good idea for every businessman/woman planning an Internet based business to do some serious research before throwing their money away on a website design they didn’t understand.
Nothing is more important. An effective website will generate sales; an ineffective website will generate nothing but frustration and possible bankruptcy. And still there is a tendency on the part of the web-business tyro to have this most important of all components constructed completely by someone whose performance they can’t even begin to analyze. Their argument is, “I don’t know anything about this stuff!” (This coming from people who double-check every invoice and spend months choosing the right craftsmen to add a storage room to their brick and mortar business.)
Well, if you want to succeed you better start learning something “about this stuff.” That’s one of the wonderful things about the web: the information is there for anyone who really wants to find it. Which brings us (finally) to the point of this discussion: information.
Studies show that people use the web for information, not titillation (except of course for those millions searching for porn sites). Forget the concept propagated by some well-meaning designers, that all you need is a terrific site to get the customers’ attention and the rest will take care of itself. Fact is a beautiful site won’t keep their attention for half a minute if they don’t immediately find the information they are looking for; they won’t even notice your product if blasting audio, indulgent videos and discordant banners annoy them too much.
That’s why it’s important to have some idea of what you want in a website before you go looking for someone to build it. It should be a reflection of you, not your designer. Only you know your customers well enough to know what they are looking for-in other words, what information they want. Only you will know for sure how much titillation they will put up with.
An excellent resource for this subject matter is the website . This website is the creation of Jakob Nielsen, the man that wrote the book (literally) on website usability. If you’re not ready to work the website get a copy of the book. It’s called “Prioritizing Web Usability” and it wasn’t written just for web designers. It was “designed” for people who have a commercial goal for their websites.