Has this ever happened to you?
You’re running out the door to an important client meeting (or a dentist’s appointment or to meet a friend for lunch) and you’ve forgotten their address. So what do you do? if you’re like most people you head straight for the company’s web site. You look on their home page for a “Contact Us” button and click with a sigh of relief, knowing that the information you need will be in your hands within seconds. And then you see an e-mail contact form.
Frustrated you start navigating around the site, clicking on other tabs in hopes of inding the information you need. Eventually, you give up and roll the dice, typing the company name in to Hopstop or Google Maps and cursing the web designer who has now made you twenty minutes late for your meeting.
It’s an all too common experience and a terrific example of not putting the needs of the end user at the top of business objectives for a site. In our hi-tech world of Twitter, Facebook, IM and Gmail, it’s easy to forget that sometimes people aren’t always online. And sometimes they need simple traditional ways of getting in touch with you (whether it’s snail mail, a telephone number, or just finding out where you’re located). Good web design starts with identifying users and use cases and making sure all potential scenarios are covered. In the example above, 30 seconds of well guided code writing could have saved the user 20 minutes of frustration.
Remember that the web is a communications medium and that sometimes “the medium is not the message”. As much as we’re dazzled by new technology basic human needs remain the same. That’s why weather apps are among the most popular on the iPhone. And that is why you need to make sure that the most basic information about your business is accessible to your customers.
What do people see when they click on your “Contact Us” button?