What's this page for? Why am I writing it? Before your first keystroke, make sure your goals are clear — and afterwards, double-check that they've been met. If that sounds obvious, it isn't.
At the risk of oversimplifying, McGill Web pages aim to either inform, or spur action, or both.
My page's goal is informational
- Is it skimmable and easy to understand?
- Does it tell the user everything she needs to know?
- If additional information is needed, is the visitor's path to that content clear?
My page's goal is action-oriented
- Do visitors have an obvious, immediate path to the desired action?
- Is your "sales pitch" -- the reason for action -- clearly laid out at the top of the page?
How many times have you seen sites that try to sell you something, but force you to scroll past 16 paragraphs to find the "Buy now" button? Similarly, how many informational sites have you seen where dozens of unskimmable paragraphs trail down an impenetrable page? If we want our visitors to do their part, and read or take action, we site editors need to do our part as well and make their lives a little easier.