Assessing Business Websites - dummies

By Jan Zimmerman

Most business owners say, “I don’t know anything about web design, but I know what I like.” Are you in that category? If so, a few simple terms can help organize your visceral reaction when it’s time to evaluate other websites, plan your own, or communicate effectively with your web designer and staff. While many people use different wording, these five elements cover the ground of site design:

  • Concept: The underlying design metaphor for your site, intimately connected to your brand and target audience

  • Content: All the words, products, pictures, audio, interactive features, and any other material you put on your site

  • Navigation: The way users move through a site by using menus, links, and sitemaps

  • Decoration: All the supporting design elements, such as buttons, fonts, and graphics that your designer creates

  • Marketing efficacy: Methods such as calls to action or signup forms that get users to do what you want them to do

The website assessment form (shown below) provides a detailed breakdown for assessing sites. Try it on your existing site, if you have one, or on any of the sites you run across. See what happens when other people evaluate the same sites by using this form. You might be surprised!

The higher the score, the better, but you may find that others rate a site quite differently from the way you do. If several people consistently score a site below 50, it is probably in real trouble. (If a question doesn’t apply, just ignore it and reduce the possible total by 5 points.)

You can use this form to assess your own site or others. [Credit: © 2011 Watermelon Mountain W
Credit: © 2011 Watermelon Mountain Web Marketing
You can use this form to assess your own site or others.