What makes a good web site? August 24, 2006Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Technology, Web, Weblog.
The past couple of days I have been asking people what they see in a good web site. What is it they look for and what is it they consider important for a web site they like and they consider better than most other web sites. As you may imagine, people have difficulty quantifying what they like when it comes to web design or layout and overall functionality.
When I ask myself that question I first think, what else is there that is equivalent to a web site? The primary purpose of a web site is to provide information. Yet, most everyone would agree that the look (aesthetics) are very important as well. So, it can be a form of art. And, if not considered ‘true art’ then at least artistic design.
What else is there in our everyday lives that is a mix of information (data) and art (graphics)? After pondering that question (briefly) it hit me, a map! Yes, web sites are like road maps (but not like an onion).
Let’s consider the similar characteristics of road maps and web sites. First, a road map must be accurate to be useful. The same is true of web sites. We seek to provide accurate information. And, like roads, we can run into dead ends, which on web sites we call broken links.
Roads, like web sites, are constantly changing. And, new roads are being built all of the time, just like web pages and web sites. Therefore, current information is important for maps. The same is true of web sites.
What about standards? Both require adherence to standards in order to be worthwhile. If a map doesn’t adhere to standard units of measurements (such as miles or kilometers) then it can be less than useful. The same is true of web sites.
I have not figured out the web equivalent of the legend on a map (so help me out here). But, if you think about it, you will find there are several other similarities between web sites and maps.