WHAT’S IN THIS CHAPTER?
The last few chapters have been about creating and presenting your great content to the user. In truth, those chapters are really about your own goals — how you want the site to look and function and what content you are presenting. But it is not all about you. What about the visitors to your site? This is where the user’s experience is a factor.
Up to this point, the focus has been on how to create a site and manage its content. Now the question is — is the site going to attract and retain viewers (users) because of the mechanics and decisions you have put in place? Because you are dealing with people and their unique perceptions, it is an entirely nondeterministic exercise. That is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The user experience really involves more than what an actual person sitting at a browser in Middle America thinks. Indirectly, web spiders, search engines, and service consumers such as RSS readers are also your users. Your site needs to be designed and structured so that all classes of users benefit and have a great experience.
User experience is a topic that is open to interpretation; everyone sees it a little differently. But some good guidelines are available. Some ...