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 Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)

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rsgamboa
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PostSubject: Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)   Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:19 pm

The ways in which customers interact with an organisation through its website can be seen as an important means of satisfying their expectations. Evaluate the design characteristics which affect customer experience when using an organisational website. (at least 2000 words)
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Agnes Galinato

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PostSubject: E-Commerce: Design Characteristics of Organizational Websites for Customers   Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:00 pm

“how to judge a website depends not how beautiful it is but the accessibility it provides”
E-commerce done within the enormous realm of Internet handles competition which is indeed tight. Businesses must have a striking yet informative way of handling the design of their websites to enable the success of their commerce. Yet, when we say striking it is not only the attractiveness of the site but there are also other terms to which sites are to be judge. There is a quote given by an author of an article about SEO which states “A beautiful Website that gets no traffic and makes no money might as well be an ugly Website. An ugly Website that has traffic and makes money gets more beautiful by the dollar.” Observing and analyzing the quotation, sites don’t necessarily have colored images covered all over its page, moving objects and images as well as audio and video attachments. Even simple websites can be said as beautiful if it is working to its fullest and acting to its suppose function. Business online is much the same with the offline industry where advertisement and the presentation of the product is very vital in the progress of the business. Though it is being done differently, yet the concept is the same. Mostly, we see and observe business outside our homes where it contains models that promote their merchandise, seeing huge billboards and flyers posted all over the walls. Somehow it is done slightly diverse when dealing with the online processes. Webmasters and developers have observed that novice developers often make mistakes in improving their websites. In a network, there is a huge difference between beautiful and pleasant to the eye with sites functional and user-friendly, which will have a better chance of success. The webmaster should always bear in mind two things: optimizing for visitors and for search engines. If the time the page will seek to infinity, and the search robots will not be able to index your site, it is immaterial whether he was handsome and informative. When talking about design, it doesn’t mean that it must contain images and other moving pictures to say that the site is indeed richly in designing. Design also covers the navigation capacity of the site as well as its user-friendly interface. The website need and must look professional and trustworthy for the reason to build connection and rapport with clients and consumers. Confidence is a great factor that must be included with all businesses either it be online or offline. The webmaster should be able to see that the site must relay its function to its buyer thus creating a consumer confidence. Having a poorly designed website will cost sales. Poor website design is often the primary reason for a website’s failure. This is because it fails to engage the user. Connection is indeed important between the user and the website.
Just as how businesses is done, there are also legal actions and other governmental laws that governs the proceedings in the online business industry. There are web standards that preside over these processes. Web standards refers to guidelines set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These standards ensure websites look and feel consistent across a broad range of devices and platforms, as well as being accessible by internet users regardless of disability. Conformance with the WCAG 1.0 (and other W3C) guidelines will enhance the market share and audience reach of your Web site by increasing its general usability. Adoption of WCAG 1.0 recommendations also demonstrates the commitment to social responsibility and equity of access to information and services. In addition, many of the WCAG 1.0 checkpoints will directly improve the performance of certain Web services and reduce the maintenance effort required.
Because of the importance of design in the web developing, there are many points that I have researched and compiled through the observation and study of other developers through out there online business experiences. I have enumerated some of it.

1. Usability
- as researched users who can’t find their way around easily (usually between 5 and 30 seconds) will often leave your website. If the information contained on the website is difficult to read or poorly structured chances are users won’t be able to find what they were looking for.
Usability can be broken into the following categories:
1. Ease of learning (learnability) – where buyers and customers will have an easiness of learning the content of the site. What product it implies or what is it all about.
2. Efficiency of use (efficiency)- this means the effectiveness and the good organization of its content.
3. Memorability – these defines the quality of being worth remembering, websites must have an impact with its users that it can be remembered easily by the customers.
4. Error frequency and severity- also another indicator in the usability of a website, where the frequency of errors must be minimized to show usability of the site
5. Satisfaction- contentment of the user when visiting the site, this means that the reader of the site gets what they want out of a particular site.

2. Navigation and Navigational Bar
- As a general rule users should always be able to get back to the homepage of the particular site. Common practice is to make the website logo (usually in the top left hand side) link to the home page.
as describe in one of the articles about web designing states that the use of breadcrumbs provide an excellent navigation system and show exactly where a user is in relation to your entire website at any given time. This can be likened to a map at a shopping complex showing where you are and how you get everywhere else. The navigation bar is an important part of the web design. the webmaster will have to have a navigation bar place either at the top, or the side of the web page of the website. This is because the visitors to the site will be depending on these navigation bars to help them in their navigation of the site. Without an effective navigation bar, the visitors are bound to get frustrated with your website.

3. Keeping it clean and focused
- this means that when doing business, web developers don’t need to put every third party advertisements all over the page, since it can cause frustration and negative effects on the consumers. Don’t clutter the website with every widget or third party advertisement . Less is most definitely more where design is concerned, and two or three well-placed ads will attract much more attention than a host of flashing icons. Keeping the focused is also an necessity in having an effective website. In an article the author stated that developers must think about the purpose of the website design. What do they want people to do when they first visit? Browse the products? Subscribe to a newsletter? Download a catalogue? Enquire about a service? Whatever it is , make it obvious and incorporate a ‘call-to-action’ into the design.

4. Give the Website an Attractive 'Look and Feel'

design concerning fonts and images is still important in the site. There are some obvious question like :Why should a website look good? Why should it look professional? Because like the sign hanging over a store in the strip mall, the website reflects upon business. If the sign's lettering looks crude and homemade, people would tent to be judgmental.
Developers owe it to themselves to make their website look top-notch. To succeed, they’ll need some artistic flair, or perhaps hire a graphic designer's talents for the basic design and site graphics. If you are not comfortable with graphic designing or web designing, you will have to hire either a website designer or graphic designer to help you with the designing of your website. With the help of a professional designer, you will be able to create the perfect web design as they will be able to assess your internet needs.


They will be able to create a professional design for your website. Remember that these people have years of experience and skills backing them, making it all the more safer and better for you to approach them for advice on creating the right web design.
Besides seeking help from the professionals for the perfect web design, you have to also get a professional logo created by them for use on your website. With a logo, your business has a representation in public with which people will be able to remember you and your business better. With the right logo and web design, you will be able to set your business apart from other businesses and thus have a stepping stone to success.

5. Construct the Site to Be Search Engine Friendly
Each webpage construct needs to contain the following elements. Note the careful placement of keywords, the search words people would use to find this particular webpage.
Title -- provocative and descriptive, containing the most important keywords from that webpage, no more than 80 characters. This is what shows up hyperlinked in search engine results, so make people want to click on it.
Meta tags -- The description meta tag should include one or two sentences (up to about 250 characters) describing the contents of this particular webpage. Work into the sentence the most important keywords and keyphrases that occur on this page. Some search engines will display your description. I still include a meta keywords tag, since Yahoo currently uses it for indexing, though Google doesn't.
Headlines -- H1, H2, H3 in HTML parlance. Your headline and subheadings should include your important keyword at least once.
Body text -- The first paragraph of the content of your webpage article or text should contain the main keywords for that page.
Hyperlink text and filenames -- Search engines believe that the words contained in hyperlinks on your webpage (such as widget) are important, and thus rank them higher. If the filenames contained in the hyperlink URLs contain important keywords (such as widget.html for the filename of your widget order page), so much the better.

6. Increase Market Share and Audience Reach
another thing that would create a impact and importance to the consumers is the sites marketability and its capacity to reach vast audience. Increasing discovery, access and usability of the Web site for all visitors is a major benefit from applying many of the WCAG 1.0 checkpoints. Furthermore, the proportion of people with disabilities can range up to 20 percent in some populations. A significant portion of those people with disabilities - in some countries as many as 8% to 10% of the overall population - can benefit from Web sites' conforming with WCAG 1.0.

Clear and consistent navigation – this is still one of the most important part of a website. people often avoid a Web site after an initial visit because they encounter difficulties navigating complex collections of information or cannot find (or refind) the item they wanted. Applying the WCAG 1.0 recommendations for clear and consistent navigation will help reduce this problem. There are also terms to which websites will enhance their usability, among these are the following from the article entitled Auxiliary Benefits of Accessible Web Design:
Device independence because of situational usage - an increasing number of people use a variety of technologies to access the Web and the WCAG 1.0 techniques can expose critical content and facilitate interaction in all these situations.
o While the primary Web device for some may be a multimedia-capable desktop computer with a high-bandwidth connection, those same people, and others, may also choose to access the Web with personal digital assistants, mobile phone browsers, or other, less capable Web devices, possibly over lower-bandwidth connections.
o Some users may find themselves in noisy environments where audio content may not be easily heard; having a text-based alternative becomes critical.
o In some situations glare on a screen may make seeing video, or even text-based content, difficult so having content that can be rendered with a voice synthesizer can be beneficial.
o An increasing number of users will access the Web with hands-free/eyes-free devices.
Clear and understandable content - this will immediately increase the size and breadth of the audience that can benefit from your Web site.
Text alternatives
o "D" links and "longdesc" attribute - since the message you hope to convey with complex graphics such as photographs, graphs and diagrams may not be immediately obvious to (or even viewable by) some visitors a clear text description of what the image means or conveys can be a great boon to your audience.
o Text descriptions for multimedia files - for any number of reasons (and many are identified in this document) a significant number of users worldwide will not be able to access content contained in multimedia files. Providing alternative text-based content will significantly increase its availability.
o Captioning - audio content will not be accessible to all users. Providing alternative textual content will significantly increase the number of people who will "hear" your message.
Color contrast - contrasting colors for page background and text make for easier reading. Dark text on a light background is usually the best combination for non-visually impaired, but utilising style sheets for controlling text and background colors allows others to chose the best combination for their needs and current environment (in other words, they may choose one style sheet while at their desktop computer, and another while using their laptop or PDA at a meeting or on an airplane). Also be aware that 8% to 10% of the male population in many countries exhibit some form of color blindness.

References:
http://infopirate.org/_design-vs-functionality-what-important-your-business-project-network
http://www.davidairey.com/5-important-design-aspects-of-any-website-or-blog/
http://www.wilsonweb.com/articles/12design.htm
http://www.roseindia.net/articles-directory/view-free-article/16095
http://www.dmreview.com/dmdirect/20041015/1011285-1.html
http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/benefits.html
http://www.selfseo.com/story-18143.php
http://www.topclickmedia.co.uk/web-design-important-success-business.htm
http://www.melbourneit.com.au/successbox/website-tips/good-website-design-why-its-important/

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regina e. abadilla

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PostSubject: Evaluating web design   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:55 am


Nowadays, many business transactions are done online. It had been done since more decades ago, as the internet had been growing beyond expectation. With the countless websites over the internet, the users can’t guarantee that certain site is trustable. With this, trust in e-commerce is necessary – this aspect includes some tips on how to evaluate the website. On the other hand, site owners must be aware of that phenomenon. As we could observe, not only big companies are now engaging the online transactions, even we typical individuals are related on it. About everyday there are new websites developed and the getting the viewers to stay on the site long enough to attain high search results and even trust to complete a transaction in business matter is the great challenge a new website will face. And with this aspect, one of the factors that could help addressing this matter is having a proper and good web design. Having proper web design is not that hard to attain. It was just the matter of designing of your website considering your viewers point of view. From searching over the internet, there are so many available tips on how to make our website professional, capturing a higher interest for the visitors.

Designing needs muck thinking and far-sightedness. Colors, layouts, content, and web design has an important role in determining the attractiveness of the web page and in building the trust of the user. If the website is intended to sell of any consumer products and services, then having a proper presentation is better in business exposure. In web design it needs different aspects such as color combination, shape, spacing, form and the value order which is a challenge, where the features to be considered t show the organization’s profile in a positive manner – in other word ‘professionalism’. Whatever the form or layout, it must be sensible and well- structured.

There are main points to be consider; the contents which covers the substance and the information should be relevant to the site and targets the area of the public which the website nature is concerned with; the usability, the site must be a user- friendly website where the interface and navigations is simple and reliable; the appearance where the texts and images including the styles must show consistency, in professional, appealing and relevant way; and the visibility, where the search engine ranking and advertisement media must be considered.

First of this, you must think what’s your website all about. The home page explains in detail the purpose of the site; even the necessary information introducing your site or company in business. Users must know the information of the company that he must be dealing with, and this must be considered in commercial sites. Even in normal sites, it must not be full of links or banners directing to another page just to introducing part by part of information bout your site. The user must understand the information the website really offers in its home page. It is necessary that it must be specific to hinder the users from second-guessing.

Even the font sets, styles and sizes must be considered. Not all visitors have the same eyesight. It is not advisable to use less than 10px font, in most cases 12px is used. Just as making typical presentations, documents – your website’s fonts must be consistent regardless on the heading and titles. Even the font styles, stylistics that makes the website amateur, instead use formal fonts such as Times new, Verdana, Tahoma, etc. Keep the site simple and neat.

Make the pages easily readable by the visitors by using dark fore color with a white of light background. Using light text to light background makes difficult to read the contents. Some websites applies in reverse, light text color over the dark background, which still acceptable, but then, in formal websites – they mostly use white background. It is neat and appealing to the eyes of the readers. As I observed, white background is more appealing than a dark background, it is neat and it doesn’t need more sophisticated design to make it attractive.

In constructing the contents of your site, it is advisable not to make a long paragraph on your web pages, unless it is an article or reviews – which are normally longer one. It is recommended that the paragraphs are about 6 to 7 lines with the proper spacing between each one. If the topic is long enough, then try to use the sub-titles to break it into several paragraphs. With this, it would create easier reading and it would even get the attention of the visitors. It would not be boring to read a long page of website if it is divided into subtitles, just as in ordinary book which is divided by chapters.

The content is very necessary to be considered. We must evaluate first if the content of our webpage are useful or it was then crowded by bulks of advertisements. Proving the webpage with a little content is not a good one. As we could observe, most of the websites are full of links, sales pitches, advertisement, etc. It is still good to use these all, but them in a little amount that wouldn’t cover the important information about the site. Links are useful to direct to the other page, this would make the content of your page smaller but then, it is necessary that not most of the page contains links. To make the text content shorter, you could use graphics foretelling what you want to express, but then, it is not appealing any more to have so many images in the site. You could even use videos or presentations, but we must always put in mind the loading and system requirement which could create delay in accessing the information. If you planning to put some sound in your pages, then they are necessary that it is with your visitors’ control. Some of them don’t want to listen it anymore.

That is why the purpose of the website must be clearly defined so in making the design, you could evaluate and organize the contents effectively. Collecting the list of necessary content then sorting it in relate to the audience’s need is key in web planning. In the process of content gathering, any data that doesn’t target the objectives should be removed. Then the next, it should be categorized, and each should be entitled with a concise and descriptive title. Right planning for the site’s content ensures that the wants or needs of the audience.

It‘s tiresome to the eyes of the readers to see a very long page content. It is not recommended to have a page that is more than four times in length. Some website pages have ‘read more’ link to navigate to the whole content. It is advisable when your post is too long enough to cover a big length of the page. Most websites post links, previous, next, or in numeric form to direct to the specified page number. Put it in mind, most viewers tend to leave when it is difficult to get from page to page. It would lessen there interest when the links are complicated. That is why it is recommended to put navigation page links to all your pages if necessary for the viewers to easily navigate around the website. Most pages place it on the top and bottom of the page, this is a good practice. In the other words, the placement of the navigation links and buttons of the websites must be considered.

It is necessary that there is also a link for the contact information. If you fail to do these so, potentially most people would not complete your transaction. Most people also don’t want an autobot that would respond to their concern. Most want to have contacts in personal means. This factor would help also the get closer the users and the owner, building trust between them.

Delay is one of the factors that affect the interest of the viewers to visit the site again and even recommend it to the other peers. Most webmasters embed graphics and videos in there websites. Large images and videos would definitely slower the load time of the page. Don’t clutter the page with large images that longer to load. Catching icons would draw visitor’s attention to the particular section of the page. The designers must consider that still some of the users use dial-up connected. Unless they use broadband associated with fast processors which would not affect too much the delay time. But then, still the website could have images but then, try to resize it to a smaller one. It is ideal to set the pages at the loading time below 15 seconds, or else if not, you would lose your visitors. Let us remember that visitors are more interested in content than design. Good use of the graphics can make the page appealing, but the slower page load could take the visitors away. I guess, it would be nice to test the webpage in a dial-up connection considering the slow connection users.

Good use of graphics can make your site appealing, but if they load too slowly it can chase your visitors away. Always make sure to test your web site on a dial up connection, and make sure to clear your browser’s cache. You may have your graphics stored in your computer's memory and will not be able to accurately tell how long it is actually taking to load. Make sure large graphics are properly optimized for the web, or reduce the amount of graphics, if you find the site is loading too slowly.

Even the existence of pop-ups must be the concern of the webmaster. Some employs pop-ups to capture the attention of the viewers, but then in some point it was annoying already to the users. There are still other alternative ways to capture the interest of the viewers. Having a solid information background about the site is the most effective way to give interest to the users. You could list the pages you want to view rather than using pop-up. This I son the users to click and directed on it or not.

In the fast emergence of various websites over the internet, it is hard to predict that certain website allows privacy or not. The webmaster must implement a privacy policy. Spam is a crucial problem over the internet, to create users trust you must assure them that the information they are giving unto you would be in strictest confidentiality, and would never be shared or given to the other party. This is the most crucial part in instilling trust in businesses.

The website must be updated regularly. Updated contents interest the visitors to revisit the site for the future updates. This could also higher you search engine ranking. It is nice if you implement a database driven website for easy updating the pages. The visitors want the information they are reading are current and new. In this way, the site must have an administrative login section where the changes can be made even without the use of special software or programming and design ability.

Having a right resolution would make easy for the viewers to view the page. If the site is dedicate for in a smaller resolution, then the page is viewed in higher one, the user would result in scrolling it.

Let must put in mind that an easy-to-use always encourages visitors to stay and read your content. In developing a website it is really necessary that the design is well planned, this would deter the interest of the visitors. The visitors could determine if the website is quickly made off or well planned carefully out and professionally designed. In short, the website deign should produce elating effect that would encourage the visitors to come back again and view the website as genuine and reliable source. Try to put you self in the shoes of the potential costumers then evaluate the things that should be considered that would attract you and build a trust, and then why not it would be included in the website you are planning to create.

Reference:

http://www.fenclwebdesign.com/planning.htm
http://www.promotionworld.com/articles/internet/webdesign/080620tipsforproper.html
http://hombyz.com/721.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_design
http://ezinearticles.com/?Characteristics-of-Web-Design-Portfolio&id=1642432


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Clenemae G. Galgao

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:18 pm

E-commerce existence really burst in the world of business. And internet is the tool they provide to stay and to be competitive in this area and one of the factor they really on is their web area. Web designing is one of the aspect that help progress the one’s business. Online business done by companies is one of the factors that the companies save their resources and gain profit those are the things that the company are really working now. It is there new way of interaction between clients or consumers and producers. In order customer will always buy in their store, there are qualities of their product that the customers really like and as a producer you always stick to those qualities. Like any other, in terms of products customers really like affordable products but it has a standard quality or expensive but suite to the product because it will last long. Just like any other ways to give clients or customers the satisfaction they want and the impression producers pursue in online shopping having a good characteristics or qualities of your web page is important.

From wekipidea.com, a web site is a collection of information about a particular topic or subject. Designing a web site is defined as the arrangement and creation of web pages that in turn make up a web site. A web page consists of information for which the web site is developed. A web site might be compared to a book, where each page of the book is a web page.

There are many aspects (design concerns) in this process, and due to the rapid development of the Internet, new aspects may emerge. For non-commercial web sites, the goals may vary depending on the desired exposure and response.

To an article where anyone can give their suggestion on what is highly recommended to apply in your web area that customer likes and people can rate the given perspective from different people the most chosen best quality of the page is “That the user is always right. Read that book (The User is Always Right). Makes things make sense and accessible to all. Have links labeled clearly and go where they say they are going.”

Having clearly stated links or directions where the user can clearly understand is a very big point to the site user will not having a difficulty to search and to know what your site all about. Also the reaction or feedbacks or even suggestion coming from the customer is very important that the producer will take. Customer really knows what they want and they don’t.

Having a good web page it will help the companies’ success. Then is a well-done designed website or web page? “It is a website that combines in it all the ingredients like it is user friendly, search friendly, and presents a theme in an impressive way. A successful web site is a site that converts most of its visitors into customers.” There are several characteristics that to be taken into action by those having their web site.

Content

Having sense and quality content fill-in to your website which can provide users with the information they are looking for. Content also allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field. When your website visitors are looking to make a purchase they will feel more comfortable with your products and services if you have built their trust and confidence through what you have written on your website.
Keyword-filled content is also crucial for getting high search engine rankings. Most internet users trust search engines to help them find what they are looking for. Taking the time to create high quality content can have huge payoffs through increased search engine rankings.

Before beginning on a website design, define objectives and site purpose. A ood design takes into account the site purpose and works towards it. The site content should be up-to-date and reflect the main goals of your site.

In the content all the information about the site and the company are stated. Also, the purpose or the objective of the website can be clearly seen and understand. The content that is in the page should focus on the company really offered to their customer the services they provided any other information that not really defined their purpose will not necessary to be in the site.

The content said to be “the substance, and information on the site should be relevant to the site and should target the area of the public that the website is concerned with.”

Simple and Attractive Design

Usually customers like attractive page with all the color and picture which is very lively but simple that suite to the customer’s eyes. ”The design of a good website should be simple, yet professional. The design should not take away or distract from the content. Websites with excessive use of Flash and moving images can be very distracting. Use design to help you get your message to visitors, not to distract them from the message. Colors should not be hard on the eyes, and text should be easy to read.”
“While creating a web design, always remember that first impression is the last impression. A good website layout and attractive graphics will attract a lot of visitors to your site. But, once the visitor is there, he needs much more than just a good design to hold him on.”

The appearance of the site also should also be: the graphics and text should include a single style that flows throughout, to show consistency. The style should be professional, appealing and relevant.

Easy navigation

When scrolling down and exploring to site customers can really understand and can easily find the navigation they want. If the customers can have difficulty in finding the navigation it will not make up the mood of the customers and they will not feel to explore the site again.

“Navigation and links provide opportunities to incorporate design elements in to the website; however, navigation schemes should not be so elaborate that the user has trouble knowing where to click to move to another page. The average visitor’s attention span is a matter of seconds, and if it is hard to find what he or she is looking for, you will loose that visitor very quickly. Links to your most important pages should be easily found on every page. A good rule of thumb is that every page should be accessible in two clicks from your home page (this may not be possible with larger sites).”

Unique

Website that contains a concept that there is no match to other site and that is new to people’s eyes. “The most successful websites will stand out from the crowd. There are a number of was that you can make your website stand out: better design, high quality articles, a blog, a newsletter, some type of resource or tool. Find something that would be appealing to your target market.”

Fresh

Updating your site is very appropriate to do. Information extend and broaden as time goes by. Their will many things added and there are taken or being removed. Through that “Having a website that changes or is updated frequently will encourage repeat visitors. Repeat visitors will be more loyal and more likely to buy. There are a few different options for keeping your site fresh:

“5.1 Update the site and add content occasionally - This will require you to either pay a designer or do the work yourself.”

“5.2 Use a blog - With a blog you can add content to your website from any computer with an internet connection. All you’ll have to do is login and type. No special software or skills are required.”

“5.3 RSS feeds - With RSS feeds you can add news headlines, weather, stock tickers, etc. to your website. Additionally, you can add content from most blogs to your site with RSS. The benefit of RSS feeds is that once in place they will automatically update.”

Optimized
“A successful website will be search engine-friendly. Optimization includes things like using page titles and meta tags for all of your pages. Using headers and alt tags for images can also help optimization and accessibility. Even a website that is strong in other areas but weak in optimization may be hard for users to find.”

Usability

A website should be easy and intuitive to use. Navigation should be easily accessed on every page: the general rule is that 2 clicks or less should get you to any page of the site. Complex navigation structure will frustrate your visitors and they will leave your site immediately if they cannot find what they are looking for.

Knowing the Audience

Who are the intended audience? Older people might have trouble seeing contrasts in certain colours, children might need larger navigation buttons, the overall design and atmosphere will depend on your intended audience.

Defining the audience is a key step in the website planning process. The audience is the group of people who are expected to visit your website – the market being targeted. These people will be viewing the website for a specific reason and it is important to know exactly what they are looking for when they visit the site. A clearly defined purpose or goal of the site as well as an understanding of what visitors want to do or feel when they come to your site will help to identify the target audience. Upon considering who is most likely to need or use the content, a list of characteristics common to the users such as:Audience Characteristics, Information Preferences, Computer Specifications, and Web Experience.

Taking into account the characteristics of the audience will allow an effective website to be created that will deliver the desired content to the target audience.

The structure of the page or site is very important also like the following:

Colour scheme. Some colours look awful together. This isn't a decision to make lightly. Look at a colour wheel and read about how it works, this will become invaluable when it comes to choosing the right colours.

Text. Don't make it too small. Don't make it hard to read against the background (for example, bright red text on a dark blue background - people actually do this! Ack!).

Black text on white background is usually best, but not neccasary.

And for crying out loud, don't use some fancy, hard to read font that most computers don't have anyway as the main body of text. That is seriously just evil.

Use a sans serif font as your main text (headings you don't neccasarily have to), Verdana is especially made for viewing on the computer.

Layout. Usually made up of a heading banner, a horizontal or vertical navigation bar, the content part, and the footer. However, more artistic Flash sites might stray completely from this. It's up to you.
Just make sure that it is easy to navigate and looks appealing. A good way to get inspiration is to look at a website that sells web templates. Don't copy them, but you can get great ideas from them.

The layout should be consistent on every page of the website.

Using tables for your design layout is rather outdated now. It may be useful in some cases, but not generally.

It is now CSS. With CSS, you can have the written content and the layout completely separate from each other and it is so much more flexible and easier to use than tables.
Dreamweaver makes using CSS especially easy.

Accessability. Each image should be fixed so that text appears when the cursor hovers over it. This should explain what the image is of. This is mainly used for people with a disability.

The whole site should be easy to naviagate through and not confuse people with cryptic navigation bar names or a cluttered, muddled up page.

If your navigation bar is made with Flash, then you might consider having the navigation again in the footer for people that can't view Flash.

Every computer uses different browsers and different versions of these browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Navigator, etc) and different screen resolutions. Test your website to make sure it works in various browsers and screen sizes.

References:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080227002750AACN1qr
http://www.webreference.com/greatsite.html
http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design/characteristics-of-a-good-website/
http://seo-kolkata.blogspot.com/2007/07/web-content-writing-characteristics-of.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?7-Characteristics-Of-A-Great-Webpage&id=155509
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_design

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Richard Mark Daliba

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:15 pm

There are so many companies nowadays uses a website to support some of the companies transactions and these really helps the companies to improve its competency in the market. We can't deny the fact that this is a really a big help to companies. But before creating a website that would suit your needs, you should take consider of many things that would be included on your website since we are not making a website just to have one. I have read an article giving 10 steps in which you could create a high quality website and that would probably help your company a more competent in terms of e-commerce. The first is Commitment in which means a high-quality website requires a lot of commitment and effort. Good content requires a lot of commitment and effort. Your users and visitors demand commitment and effort. That's why in order to create a high quality website you should be committed on your website. Second is Planning. Gathering all the necessary resources for the website and what would be its main goal should be plan before starting on creating. These were the necessary things to be answer on the planning stage.
What is the goal of your website?
What is the target audience of your website?
What content do you intend to offer?
Which key data and metrics will you use to determine your success?
Third is the Information Architecture. You need to create, test, verify, and reconsider the structure and architecture of the website you are creating before continuing on creation process. Fourth is the Design phase. Since all the information needed are planned and finish drafted, you could start now on designing the website based on the architecture created. You should consider the social environment, external and internal design that would be created. Fiftth is the Programming phase. After creating the all the designs, you could now continue on coding the different transactions based on the designs you have created. This would be the hardest part on the process on creating the website since validations of HTML and CSS codes should be made in order to follow the website standards. The sixth one is the Quality Assurance. You should assure your customer a good quality assurance in order to be more reliable in the transaction process that takes place in your website. Before launching this website to your customer, a quality assurance testing was being made. Technical validity and compliance to resources are being checked before you could continue on launching the website. The seventh one is the Public Relations. Market your website without feeling guilty. Your HTML should already be suitable for search engine. The next one is the Success Control. Make sure that the “key performance indicators” (KPI) you determined at the beginning are measured. If your existing statistics don’t determine these numbers, ensure that they do you should now have accomplished your objective from the beginning. Then the Maintenance Phase. Maintaining your website. Updating your website. Look after your website. Adding new content on a regular basis. Furthermore, check old content. You need to proofread new and old content. And the last one is the Quality Assurance. Keep validating, checking, and testing your documents, contents, and design … again and again.
According to webreference.com, in order for a website to be high quality the websites should:
Provide credible, original content in as many forms as possible.
Original content is the most important trait of a great Web site. Sites that provide only links to other sites are essentially meta-lists (although Yahoo seems to be doing well Smile, while sites that have some information that's useful to the user stand out and will be revisited.
Provide valuable, timely information to the user, not lots of data.
Web sites should be updated regularly. Stale Web sites say "been there, done that." For the information to be valuable it should be well-edited. For external links include only the best sites with concise descriptions. For internal content be like a magazine editor, don't rush to publish mediocre or incomplete articles.
Original content is the most important trait of a great Web site.
Share everything you learn
Great Web sites share everything they learn and hear (that's relevant of course) with their users. Give behind the scenes accounts of your latest site features, go open source, start a newsletter and you'll get more than you give.
Customize and target your content/site to your users. Think "one-to-one" Web sites.
Custom-tailor the information to user preferences.
One of the Web's strengths is the volume of information available. That is also one of its weaknesses. Sites that offer customization features allow the user to filter the content they see. The future of the Web are "one-to-one" Web sites. These automated, database-driven sites adapt the content, advertising, and even the look to individual users. Technologies such as Web Objects and Cold Fusion allow webmasters to create dynamic, interactive, and adaptive Web sites.
Be responsive on a 56 Kbps modem (the typical Web user).
Use graphics sparingly to convey information. Each graphic takes another trip to the server. Consolidate neighboring graphics or use CSS'd text or table cells with background colors to speed display. WebMonkey has a policy "use graphics for graphics and text for text, not graphic text." Size graphics to fit in a typical user's window (a maximum of 465 to 532pixels wide [i.e., the default Netscape screen to a printed page], or for max screen space viewable on all platforms use a max of 580 pixel wide tables to fit on Mac screens). It's easy to see if a site's been designed on only a PC, the page is too wide on a Mac, typically 620-640 pixel wide tables fit a PC's monitor but are too wide to display on a 14-15" Mac monitor.
Break up your tables vertically for a cascading load to appear more responsive (we use this technique on our front page). One huge table takes much longer to display content than stacked smaller tables which display one at a time. Microsoft's IE5 has a FIXED table width feature that speeds table display; unfortunately this is proprietary and does not work on Netscape's browser.
Optimize graphic file size for Web display (a maximum of 20 KB per graphic). Utilize page display speedups such as the WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes for images. Use JPEGs where possible and appropriate (continuous-toned images) and minimize the color palette of GIFs to optimize file size. Provide text alternatives to graphics for low-bandwidth users, the blind, and for speed. ALTernate text tags for images should be functional, not descriptive. If the graphic has no function, use ALT="" (i.e., <IMG SRC="pics/splash.jpg" ALT="">).

Optimize your HTML by removing excess spaces, comments, tags and commentary, especially on your home page, to minimize file size and download time. Products like Antimony Software's Mizer and VSE's HTML Turbo automate this process by removing excess characters and HTML to optimize your HTML and JavaScript. I manually tune our home page for minimize file size(typically 14-15K for the HTML page), but these products can help even file-size obsessed webmasters like myself. These products are drag and drop, and should be used as the last step before you upload your page (the files are harder to read after many of the returns are removed). After optimization your pages will appear to snap onto the screen.
Be easy to read.
Make your pages as easy to read as possible. Black text on a white background is the easiest to read. I've seen some nearly impossible to read pages that use backgrounds the same shade as the text. If you use a background, stick with the lighter shades and let the text stay black. Use a wide and short (we use 700 X 16 pixels) background graphic that's non-interlaced and under 1K or <BODY BGCOLOR="#ffffff">. HTML 4.0 now includes style sheets that can control page, link, and text color attributes site-wide, and make maintenance easy.
The second most important trait a Web site should have is interactivity.
Be interactive; good interactivity engages the user and makes your site memorable. After original content, the second most important trait a Web site should have is interactivity. The Web is an interactive hypermedia communications medium that your Web site should reflect. Sites that involve the user and have a sense of fun or adventure will get more hits, and can charge more for ad space.
Another advantage of interactivity is self-generating content. By allowing your visitors to interact with your site they actually create content for you. Script-driven user surveys and forums allow visitors to share information with others and can help shape your site to better serve their needs. Forum or chat software is a great way to do this. A great example of a user-driven site is Slashdot, a news site for nerds which posts short stories submitted by users, and allows users to easily append comments to each story.
Users equate poor organization with poor site design.
Be well-organized
Balance the number of levels (the degree of hyperization) with page length to minimize scrolling and display time.
Part of having a well-organized site is providing multiple ways of easy navigation. Supply both text and graphics for buttons. Users feel more comfortable if you maintain a consistent look and feel throughout your site.
Many sites on the Web are just lists that someone else has already done.
Dominate a subject area; become the site for that subject.
Don't duplicate a list when you can point to it. Leverage other people's work to reduce your workload. Let others who specialize in a particular topic keep their list up to date for you. On the other hand, don't make lists that point to lists ad infinitum, seek out the meat of the site and point directly to the article or resource. Many sites on the Web are just lists that someone else has already done.
Have a secure and automated server
Usage statistics, what's new, what's old (tours, outline), autoresponders, bad URL checkers, and search engines are some of the tools webmasters should utilize.

Tracking
Part of Web marketing is gauging the effect your pages have on the public. Sophisticated site usage tools such as I/Count, SiteTrack, WebTrends, and Interse Market Focus allow site developers and their clients to easily see the popularity of different pages, stay duration, where they come from and where they go, and even the path they take through your site.
Include a what's new area to give frequent visitors a way to see what has changed since their last visit.

Automation
Maintaining a large Web site can be a daunting experience. Use automation tools where possible for site maintenance. Use local spiders such as MOMspider and LinkBot to help check for old URLs. Where you choose to link will affect how fast your links will fail. The deeper into a site you link, the more likely it is to change. Don't move popular pages in your site unnecessarily, you'll break the links to your pages. If you do move them, provide a "this page has moved" page. Many orphaned links are a sign of webmaster neglect.

Searching
Let users search your site with search tools such as SWISH and Excite for Web Servers. Offer an overview of your site with a TOC or site map.

Security
Security is often the last item addressed on even larger commercial sites. Allowing adventurous users to sniff around your files (especially your server configuration files) is not a good policy, but amazingly only 20% of current Web sites are secure.
But some of the professionals right now believe to the fact on just creating a nice website the filled with all the necessary information needed by the customers. And all of the functionality are greatly performed well. A company website really helps company a lot better specially in the e-commerce itself since becoming online is your only problem
http://www.webreference.com/greatsite.html
http://meiert.com/en/blog/20070510/10-steps-to-create-a-high-quality-website/
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Glayra P. Bustamante

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Age : 28

PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:51 am

Doing business online has been one of the defining factors to succeed in the market for entrepreneurs. Undeniably, internet is a very good venue to catch a wider scope of audience or customers providing a 24/7 limitless transactions. With this, several company owners have seen the importance of their websites to effectively attract the customers’ attention and get their full satisfaction out of the services being provided by them. A lot of websites have their distinct style, themes and designs to attract their customers, aiding them with the very convenient process during transactions. Other companies have been even considering spending enough budget for hiring a web designer to design their website, this is to ensure the quality and advantageous features for their website. Well, it is a fact that a good website reflects to the good services and products delivered by the company.

In traditional business, business owners make sure of the convenience and comfort of their customers through providing a very good and expedient shopping place to them like ensuring their stores are clean, well-organized and that their employees are customer-friendly. And so, in a website, these things are well-considered too by the business owners. Customer-friendliness for example, can be ensured by providing attractive and agreeable web styles and themes. Actually there are lots to be considered in building a very good website. These are the following:

1) Planning


It is important to plan for your website to build. Plan what are to be included in the website, its design, content, goal etc. The following can be considered in planning:

a) Website’s theme

It is necessary to decide what would be the subject of your website, if it is about automobiles, then the theme should match the said subject. Website’s theme includes the color, language, structure of the content that would suitably match the subject of your business.

b) Website’s purpose

The goal of the website must be considered so that, in designing the website, the business’ goals will guide what should be included in the website, like for example, if the website’s purpose is to sell the products then the website should detail the necessary information about the subject you are selling.

c) The Target Customer

This is important since there are different categories the customers fall into. For example, if the target customers are kids, then the website should be child-friendly, and it does not display adult matters that are prohibited for children. Another example is if the website’s target customers are male, then feminine colors, styles and themes should be avoided.

d) Choosing the business partners

It is important to choose you business associates in setting up a website. One of these associates is the person who will take care of your merchant account which is needed for the transaction that involves cash. Suppliers too are important to supply the business stocks for products.

2) Designing the web site

After the planning phase, designing comes into the scene. This is the vital part of setting up a website since this would be the interface that connects a business to the customer. When a customer gets a wrong impression on the page, it would automatically be a loss to a company and a gain to the nearest competitor. With this, I have researched several tips and important factors to be considered in designing the website, these are the following:

a) Privacy Policy

The customer does not know anything about the “in’s” and “out’s” of the operation he is being involved and so protecting his privacy is very important to consider this is to ensure that he can trust the website he is visiting. The more he realizes that he is being protected, the longer he would stay a regular customer he is. Importantly, the website that contains this policy should tell the customer what data has been collected and tracked by business owners from them. Additionally, he must also be informed that the information is shared with other and with whom and the customer has also the right to choose what to do or not, who will be shared with the information or not, or in other words, he can opt out. To let the customers be assured that your privacy policy is validated, a “seal of approval” must be displayed on the web site. This can be done through applying with an organization that validates privacy policies. Good examples of these organizations are TRUSTe, Better Business Bureau’s BBBOnLine Privacy or TrustSG.

b) Information Security

During the buying phase, the customer has to enter information about his identity such as name, age, place, etc. With this, the website should let the customers feel that sense of trust by informing them that the website contains sufficient information security to secure the data being collected from them and that, information leaks are not possible. This process should include creating a page that details the information security policies that has been imposed by the company. The policies should contain how the information is being collected while it being sent from the server, during transmission and after the information reached the recipient. Such details should be always available to the customers for assurance and to let them see a glimpse on how the information flows throughout the whole operation.

c) Features, Design and Styles

The very first thing that flashes to the eyes of the customer is how the website looks like. This is the most important to consider by the entrepreneurs in attracting the customers. But mostly, the common mistake committed by these business owners is having the website looks cluttered and shabby, lots of links, big images, disordered structure and so on and so forth. The following tips are the common dos and don’ts in website designing.

(1) Keep the website simple and direct to the point

Having lots and unnecessary contents to be included in the website are such big annoyance and distractions for customers. Simplicity is the key to attract customers, the contents should be direct to the point, and they must feel like they are little bit closer to buying the products with just few readings and clicks. Additionally, the image captions and explanations must be kept simple and brief.

(2) Easy Navigation

Navigations throughout the web page must be kept simple and convenient for users too. Links and images should be hassle-free, easy, clear and sufficient. Implicit processes and delaying barriers during the operation or transactions should be avoided. Most common mistakes of business owners are having inactive links or wrong redirections. Naming of links is also important to lead the customers where the links go. Another also is to set up a pattern to be noticed by the customers so he would know what’s next to do.

(3) Simple Language

Undeniably, the most common language being used in e-commerce is English, the universal language. But even if in speaking English, there are still differences in using this and so, it is important to use the regular and common language. Avoiding jargon words is one significant thing. One good example is that in United States, diapers is their usual term but in other English-speaking countries, they prefer to call it nappies. It must be remembered that misunderstandings in language used between business owners and customers should be avoided.

(4) Compatibilities

Some websites perfectly displayed in particular web browser, this is an important factor to contemplate. Some run in Firefox, some suit for Internet Explorer. Compatibilities in browsers and platforms are should be planned well. The web designer should consider the fact that the web site should run appropriately and flawless in any platforms or web browsers the customer is using.

(5) Images, Videos, Sounds

It is nice to have images to display to the customers so that they will have a glance on what the product looks like. Videos too are helpful to let customers know the step-by-step process he should do and sounds are interesting for customers to have previews on what the soundtrack sounds like. These are just some of the advantageous things in attracting customers more. But the very significant factor to think about before adding these things to the website is the loading time for each. The web designer should make sure that the images, videos and sounds are easy and fast downloading. Taking much time from this bores the customers. Most significantly, the home page should quickly load so the customers would not end up looking for another website instead.

(6) Innovations and Trends

It is considerable to go with the current trend in designing a website. For example, do not use frames if it is outdated or not necessary for websites these days. Like in fashion, dresses that do not go along with the current trend are not desirable and so this applies in websites. Eventually, a traditional look for website bores and turns off the customer.

(7) No Software

It is not sensible to ask the customers to install a software first before doing transactions with the business owners. This would take so much time and effort from customers which are not persuadable. They will just find another more convenient online shop than yours.

(8 ) Avoiding Common Web Designing Mistakes

The following are the common mistakes committed by a website designer in designing a web site for a business which eventually disgusts or bores the customers:

- Colorful Background
- No Spaces between Paragraphs
- Disordered Navigation Menu
- Inconsistent Page Design
- Wrong font Sizes
- Distracting Frames
- Misplaced Order Buttons

d) Products

Details about the product should be clear, brief and direct to the point. Extra and unnecessary information are quite annoying to the customers. Importantly, proper and accurate descriptions should be included in the product displayed. Images or videos about the product will be much helpful for the customers to take a glimpse and have an idea on how the product looks like or how it performs. Furthermore, do not display products if they are not really available or you are our out of stock for particular product. Lastly, measurements should be considered. This refers to the standard currency you are using. It is important to take into account that similar to language, there are differences in the measurements. US dollars are mostly being accepted in online shops. So with this, currency converters should be made available to the customers so that they could easily convert their current currency to whatever being accepted by the online shop.

e) Shipping and Billing

It is advisable and suitable to create a page that entails the whole shipping policy for the product. As a matter of fact, this policy should be read by the customers first before they order the product. This can be done by explaining in the page the shipping options and when it has to be delivered. Providing a complete and detailed shipping and delivery fees should be displayed and explained well.

On the other hand, it is important to let the customers know the billing descriptions like when the said payment will be deducted to your payment card. Every billing transactions should reflect to the billing statement of the customer to ensure that the customers will know what have been the reasons behind the necessary deductions.

f) Customer Service

Providing the customer a very convenient link or page to assist him on his problems, queries and questions about the services and product is very significant factor to consider. Indeed, a good customer service will keep regular customers for patronizing the products and services being offered. “Contact Us” links are desirable containing the whole contact information where a customer could contact you. This requires however, a very knowledgeable and enough staff to attend on these concerns to ensure that questions and queries are answered or satisfied right away. Maybe, to get more in touched with the customers is to provide them a toll-free telephone customer service agent to talk with to provide a more comfortable and customer-friendly approach.

To conclude, a website should be simple, clear, to the point and well, nice to look at. It must be secured, transparent, organized and trusted. The website’s purpose must be clear and should go align with the company’s goals. It should satisfy the needs of the customers as well as providing them the very convenient way to buy what they want. Finally, it should be remembered that the website represents the company’s worth and quality.


References:

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Dos-and-Donts-of-Successful-Ecommerce-Website-Design&id=1767478
http://www.tamingthebeast.net/articles/ecommerce-site-s1p1.htm
http://www.quality-web-solutions.com/blog/e-commerce-website-design/
http://www.myownbusiness.org/business_newsletter/2005/spring/
http://www.articlesbase.com/ecommerce-articles/tips-for-building-an-ecommerce-website-516431.html
http://www.freemarketingzone.com/website-design/
http://ecommerce.suite101.com/article.cfm/tips_for_small_businesses
http://www.infocreek.com/webdesign/helpful-tips-for-ecommerce-and-website-design.html
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Charmaine Joy Abrenica

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:30 am


It is very important for those who are engaging in e-business to have a website and not just a website but a well established one. It is the presence of a business, small or big, in the cyberspace that should be significantly considered in such venture for there is lots of benefits one business can get by going online. Knowing that the internet is an environment in such a fast paced mode and nothing seems to be constant for long, everyone should know that already engaging in an e-business does not also means sure success for you. You have to take several precautions and follow important guidelines for your efforts to come into a good fruition. That is you have to be equipped with the best strategies you can conceive alongside with your set goals and mission and also the best solution when problems transpire.
One customary Internet beliefs has been that once people get to know your website, the money rolls in. As many failed entrepreneurs now know, it's barely that simple. Hundreds of thousands of e-commerce enabled websites are already online. Inviting in customer's attention requires plenty of advertising or exposure, even if your website is branded with a name so popular. It’s really not a simple task, so don't expect that your site will surely become the famous of the Internet unless you really work on it. Having said that, you can make money in cyberspace, particularly if you run a lean operation.

An online outpost is one and very important way to build the bridge between a business with its customer and definitely it could help you take your profits to larger values of digits. This website being established by e-business ventures serve as a 24 our convenience store open 7 days a week, always open for conducting business to anyone who access the site through the Internet. The idea of an online store which is open whole day and doesn't need any sales staff has to be appealing to every retailer. In the mid-19 90s, an online store was a costly exercise often running the tens of thousands of dollars. In the last 10 years, the cost of an online store has been steadily falling and is now hundreds of dollars rather than thousands of dollars and once set up is easy to maintain and operate. With proper management and strategy, all of the issues as they shared with trading online can be safely managed and even a small business can have an effective 24-hour online store selling its products and services without any sales staff all day every day. So this one means for your business exposure and money making helps you provide useful information to your customers just as distributing it through papers or with telephone or mobile communications. Useful information refers to a searchable database of retailers who hold your products, maps and directions to your main offices or other branches, business hours, even job postings, brochures and catalogs, answers to frequently asked questions for your business and other important matters of sort.

If a customer gets the feeling of ease by visiting or navigating through your site, then it is good start of making business to a new prospect customer. When customers could know enough facts they need from your business so as to let their selves get comfortable in doing transactions with you, through your online outpost, it would be a lighter load taken from you in inviting customers in. Enough and useful information is also one way of making a first good impressions to prospects customers, that you have definite information for your business and that means it is well established and you mean good business to others. Internet users take 4 to 5 years to make their selves engage in doing online transactions such as shopping or banking and that is because to get their selves familiar and feel at ease in using the internet and doing transactions for another level. Internet users now are getting smarter about their rights, how online transactions work and how to sieve good business from bad ones on the internet. There is also their reluctance of possibly engaging their selves in a bad situation such as mishandling of their information, deceptions or other threats widespread. And that factor should be taken on account by businesses, they should know more about their customers and know the most effective ways to invite them into doing business with you.

Sites whose target audience demographics match those of the advertiser's customer base determine which sites attract advertisers. For instance, if your company sells telecommunication services to businesses, you want executives who making purchasing decisions in that area to see your message. If that's who regularly visits your website, it becomes a prime candidate to sport an electronic billboard for a telco. The more targeted your audience is, the higher rate your site commands (www.learnthenet.com).The demographics of the Web are a key factor in determining whether a certain strategy will work for you. It's critical to know who uses the Internet and who would visit your site. Although computer technology makes it possible to gather some very specific information about site visitors, some demographic information is best gathered by asking for the information. This is why it also good and considered vital to indicate a Registration tab or section in your site to ask your visitors to register. And in that way you’ll be able to figure out who your visitors really are. There is also an easy way for online publishers to make money is by joining an online ad agency, like Google Adsense rater than doing it on your own. By placing ads on content pages, site owners earn revenue each time a visitor clicks on an ad. Even though the amount per click is small, all those clicks add up quickly.

The eBizMBA.com has made its list of 25 Top Most Popular Tech Business Websites for December 2008. The websites were ranked by a combination of Inbound Links, Google Page Rank, Alexa Rank, and U.S. traffic data from Compete and Quantcast. The websites included on the list are focused on specific aspects of ebusiness and have been selected to the "eBusiness" list of the said site based on the frequency of general eBusiness news & info that is published. Among the web sites that have made it to the list are: (a) News.com with 9, 460,000 links, (b) ZDNet.com – 12, 500, 000 links, (c) arstechnica.com with 1, 200, 000 links, (d) InformationWeek.com with 1,350,000 - Inbound Links, (e) TechCrunch.com with 2,080,000 - Inbound Links (f) Mashable.com with 842,000 - Inbound Links (g) sitepoint.com with 309,000 - Inbound Links (h) WebmasterWorld.com 211,000 - Inbound Links (i) Digital Point Forums with
119,000 - Inbound Links (j) ValleyWag.com with 2,960,000 - Inbound Links

As to examine or analyze all of the top sites of e-business of the eBizMBA.com, most of the sites have complete sections such as registration, about us for more of their information, downloads for visitors or customers, forums that could really ,make the visitors say what they want or point out their satisfactions and the opposite. The appeals of their web pages also seem to add up to their popularity. The color, font and text size the way the objects in a webpage are arranged in a way that is not confusing for one to navigate through. Just like having tabs to divide out the different sections of a site so as to make it very organized to look at and it would be very easy for a visitor to go through and check out each of your sections that may interest him. In this way, you can measure the satisfaction of a visitor if he likes and understands how your web site works. Otherwise, if you have poor designed web site, it would obviously have a great effect to your visitor’s satisfaction. You yourself don’t really want to waste time in a website and test your patience in checking out a poorly designed web page.

Elements or objects that should be placed in a web site should be properly decided. It’s not just putting everything you want to add and it would just be alright. Each element is taken seriously as they would greatly contribute to how your web site would be popular and to your organization or business as a whole. Put in mind that these elements would just be a ‘mere elements’ but they are indeed very important as they serve as your ‘representors’ in your web page.


Text

Of all the elements in a web page, the text is the most common a visitor would see. Besides the sounds or videos that are incorporated in a site, it is mostly the texts that are read by your visitors. The important information is displayed through text, it is where you say your marketing strategies to invite you customers in to you and you would really want to make sure that they are readable and comfortable to the eyes. The font size, font type and font color will wholly matter to the readable and comfortable to the eyes situation. Choose the font size that would be easy to read, meaning it is not too small and not to big either for the general to read with regards to the size of your whole web page and to other elements or object placed in it, the same goes with the font size. There are font types that are too stylish that make them hard to read and others that are much too simple. Incorporate the right colors with the totality of the theme you wish to employ in your page. It has to jive in with the other colors you’ll use and it soothing to the eyes of the visitors generally.


Graphics

As of today, multimedia is always incorporated with sites that make it much more popular or appealing. Graphics is one important element as it could convey more messages than described using texts and also, visitors of a web site mostly prefers to see pictures or images to really see it for their selves. This is very important for businesses that have online stores. It would help more to display actual images of what you sell to make it easier for it to be purchased as they can be seen by prospect buyers. Use images that have good quality and appropriate size, it would be really useless to display images with poor quality and very small in size as they can’t be seen clearly at all, it is better that sizes are appropriate or balanced to the whole size of the web page.


Sound and Video

Sound and Video is also the same with graphics. The size of the said element should be balanced with the whole page. It is best for organizations to place sounds or videos that are clear. It would be annoying for a visitor to watch a video that is not clear at all and hear sounds or audios that are of poor quality.

One thing that could test a visitor’s patience is the loading of a page to the next or a loading of an image or video you incorporate in your page or site. A very good web page should consider the sizes of the elements they embed in their page. For instance, if an image should appear larger, just place a thumbnail of the image. With this, just small size would be place in the page and could not affect much to the loading of the page. The same goes with the videos, videos used should be compressed to reduce file size, these are techniques to speed transfer time.

To sum it all up, one good factor that a business should consider in putting up a web site is to make it user friendly. It would all be worth it in designing or deciding what the best website is for you since it would be your portal to do good business with almost everyone around the world.




Sources:
http://www.learnthenet.com/english/html/38makmny.htm
http://www.learnthenet.com/english/html/81web.htm
http://www.ebspl.com/
http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~menasce/papers/cmg00.pdf
http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/tech-business]
http://www.entemp.ie/publications/enterprise/2004/ebusinessstrategy.pdf
http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/NR/rdonlyres/3608158F-181F-44A8-BC66-353CA27088ED/0/eCommerce.pdf
http://www.cheshirehenbury.com/emanufacturing/ebmanrep/ebmrexexsum.html




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Eric Ibasco

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:48 pm

Website is one of the factor that a certain information can be write and read because of the world wide web and this is also the one reason why many people or businessman having or making a business through in an online form or the mostly known the electronic commerce (E-commerce). By combining this two method or technology by the use of web design is become the new style for the people because making a website is not so simple that their lots of factor to do in order to achieve the good professional e-commerce website. According to (Michael Bloch, 2007) the web site acts as the store front for the products and services you wish to sell online. Your site visitors are, for the most part, window shoppers and browsers. A commercial web site's aim is to convert these browsers into buyers and (Fast PC Network, 2008) Web Design is an umbrella term that creates the face of a web site by conceptualizing and designing the way it should look. Because commonly the user especially the new one, the layout or design is their first one to see whether the website can be trusted and secured, that you can be able to inspire confidence in your potential customers by assuring them that the business you create is strong, stable and dependable. Because a certain website is only effective when it allows a user to move quickly from visiting to making an inquiry to placing an order to buy your service or product and in this period also, is the period of sophisticated internet marketing and effective web design.

E-commerce website design has evolved to embrace the technological advancements with unadulterated joy and faith. Each one of us may have different reasons to have a website designed and some of us may want a basic business website that introduces you to your niche audience, while others may feel the need to have a feature packed, dynamic and fully-functional e-commerce website. Because one of the effective marketing strategies to promote business in today’s world is possessing an E Commerce website. An e-commerce web design is to be strategically planned to suit the needs of the online buyers. To attract virtual buyers, a good campaign is necessary. A functional platform is also required where shoppers can see, sort, choose and buy their required products. That shopping over the Internet is a growing trend in today’s world. An easy, hassle free and swift shopping experience is preferred by most of the buyers. This type of buying experience is suited for the present day fast paced life. Nowadays, the e commerce sites have become so popular that almost every type of products is sold online. An e-commerce site can provide all the facilities that a buyer looks while shopping. It should be so designed that it enables the viewers to get the comfort and facilities of shopping in a store. That the effective marketing strategies can obtain an effective product presentation and pleasant visitor experience because this is the primary steps to succeed in the highly competitive world of electronic commerce. A professional design is the first point a perspective customer considers when evaluating a company on the web. According to recent survey conducted among 10,000 online shoppers more than 30% claimed poor site organization as the reason to abandon the e-Shop. That we must think also the other considerations like the Usability considerations should be of prime importance in the design of an electronic commerce website. Because every time the number of e-commerce websites has increased rapidly, the satisfaction of e-commerce users had generally decreased also and this reason is the too little attention being paid to human factors that affect whether a web site can be used easily, accurately, and without losing user interest.

This are the following ideas of professional web design to be evaluate:

Planning

Planning is the most important aspects to have an effective web design for making e-commerce website. Like in an ordinary and typical business, that before we go to make a business even it is a small one, planning is give a big role of it in order to survive because if you have not planned and organized your website well, you will not just loose clients but also ending up.

Navigation

Navigation is also another aspect to have an effective website design in e-commerce sites. Navigation must be simple, clear and sufficient. Because the more you design the navigation link the more the crucial it is, so in order to maximize your chances of success, stick with textual links as far as possible and name every link, so that your customer knows where the link leads. Establish a pattern in your website so that the buyer knows what is going to happen next. Also, take care to scatter checkout and payment buttons or links wherever needed because people are more likely to purchase an item when it is quickly followed by the 'Buy Now' button. That easy navigation helps retain a visitor on your website, while poor website navigation leads to disappointment. And this builds trust and reassures the buyer that he is dealing with an experienced businessperson at the other end.

User Friendly
The websites selling products and merchandise to online customers must incorporate a web design that is user friendly. So that customers can find their desired products easily. Adequate information should be provided about products and services sold on an e-commerce site. The online buyers make payment through credit cards and different payment gateways. Thus this service should be secured and easy to use. A shopping cart is added to an e commerce site which is an essential application required for online shopping. A secured payment is also required for online monetary transactions. This solution is used to accept the payments made by the customers who may use different payment gateways for this purpose.

Visual Impact

In designing a website, visual impact is become the most advance style for capturing the eye of a certain customer. Image, fonts, color scheme, audio and video is give a big role for advertising your product and fill the content of your web pages. That for new websites, content needs to create a solid impact on visitors, while for existing websites you can look at revamping the content or updating it on a regular basis. Moreover, break the content down into easy-to-read chunks, so that the visitor is not choked with excessive content on a single page. But the most important or the common thing in adding points to a web page is the graphics and color. Graphics, use of images is important, since images can attract a user at the first go. Use of irrelevant yet glossy pictures can add glamour to the site but not value. Color, proper use of color is very essential and the color needs to be carefully chosen and colors are the effective tools to promote a product through a site.

Look and Feel
At the same time the success of your online presence is defined not only by color schemes, fonts or images. What is important is the ability to successfully translate your message or offering and secure the trust and confidence of your customers. From the initial stages we work to distinguish and emphasize your competitive strength to let you stand ahead of your competitors. We base our design solution on your ideas and business goals translating them into a professional web presentation.

Cross Browser Compatibility
Browser is one application to use in for seeing and running the website. But the browser in this day on the market is currently over 100 different brands and owners that there’s the Internet Explorer, the Mozilla Firefox and Opera. So in order to not crash or look terrible your electronic commerce website or web pages you must first compatible the site in the different browser because by paying attention to even simple things like browser compatibility issues, you will increase your sales.

Recommended Pages
Along with the home page, your sales pages and the shopping cart, I recommend implementing the following web pages as part of your e-commerce site:

- About Us Page
The "About Us" page is crucial to boosting consumer confidence. It provides a summary of the business, your commitments and direction. While we are all protective of our privacy, online business is no different to traditional business in that we all like to 'put a face to the name' - we need to reassure our site visitors.

- Privacy Policy Page
What are you going to do with my information? - a question asked by many online shoppers. Putting together a privacy policy doesn't necessarily require a legal team. Learn more about developing Privacy statements.

- FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
No doubt you'll be asked many questions about your product. Many of these questions will be repetitive. It's these questions and answers that you'll want to add to your FAQ page. This promotes customer confidence and saves your valuable time. A prospective client may be somewhat hesitant in asking questions and this hesitancy may translate into a lost sale. A well constructed FAQ will help coax these online customers into purchasing. You can link to the FAQ not only through the main menu system, but after every "buy me" type statement. The FAQ should be accessible within one click of any other area of your web site that is dedicated to selling the product or service.


- Testimonials Page
A dollar value can not be placed upon positive client testimonials; this is some of the best promotional copy around. Elicit feedback from your current customers and ask their permission to publish their comments on your site. Testimonials can be implemented on a page of their own, or interspersed between your own statements regarding the product. If you do implement a Testimonials page, ensure that it can be accessed with one click from any other page on the site. Ideally the link or button should be placed on your web site navigational menu, preferable at the top.

And for another condition or the don't s to take in order not to have a bad effect by the customers are:

Avoid using images, audio and video that take too much time to download. Media is the in thing these days. Videos help you demonstrate your product or service. They reassure the customer. But videos that are too long will only have customers clicking away from your website because of the big file and big format that the multimedia files have that the normal web page load will be affected.

Avoid leaving out important links to your website. Many businesses make the mistake of leaving out important contact information. Always keep your website address and linking info where users can see them.

Do not use frames and flash intros. Frames are outdated and may not sit well with many browsers. Flash intros that are too slow to download are asking too much from your customers.

Do not ask customers or use to install software just so they can view your website. Most customers are wary of installing new stuff, and if you ask them to install anything, they will simply march off your website, and get the product from somewhere else because of lots of works to be done.

An e commerce web design ensures certain features unique to it. An e commerce website designs have some of these basic features:

- Payment Gateway Integration
- Shopping Cart Integration
- Online Merchant Accounts
- Security Encryption
- Cloud Computing
- User Interface

According to (Fast PC Network, 2008) taken from http://www.fastpcnet.net/website-design.html , Guided by the ideals of professionalism and e-commerce rules, our designing services are characterized by three A's:
- Affordable
- Attractive
- Accessible

Remember, over a period of time good layout and navigation allow your business or e-commerce website to grow fast and successful e-commerce web site development depends on achieving congruence between the user's conceptual models of the web site itself and how the web site delivers information and accepts orders in a non-threatening manner.


Reference:
http://www.iima.org/Proceedings/12.85%20PIIMA-2008%20Moscato%2085-96.pdf
http://www.acm.org/crossroads/xrds7-1/ecuser.html
http://www.tamingthebeast.net/articles/ecommerce-site-s1p1.htm
http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Dos-and-Donts-of-Successful-Ecommerce-Website-Design&id=1767478
http://www.quality-web-solutions.com/blog/e-commerce-website-design/
http://www.fastpcnet.net/website-design.html
http://www.digitalbroadcasters.co.uk/all-you-wanted-to-know-about-effective-website-design.php
http://www.ecommerceinsight.com/services/ecommerce_website_design.php
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Miah Mae C. Bernaldo

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:51 pm

E-commerce has become the new trend in doing business nowadays. A lot of business transactions are done online since the growth of internet users and is still growing today. The internet had become the most popular tool for business growth and for them to stay competitive not only in the local market as well the global industry. Doing business online is one of the aspects that the companies can gain and expand their resources. To have a web site is the first step to start a business online and on the other hand, to look for a web site is the first step for consumers to buy a product online. Competition is really a big deal in e-commerce. With the numerous website available on the net it is really so hard for the buyers to look for the web site that have what they want. And we want that the buyers will get into our websites. In order to achieve what we want, what we can do is to compete with the other websites that have the same content as we have. But how can our website be competitive enough with the others? What could we do to have a good website?
Whether your website is for personal or business use there are some points that we should remember to have a good website. When constructing a web site we should think first of our website as to be a user friendly website and of course the visual design of the website is important as it is the first thing the users see. The ls.berkeley.edu posted some guidelines on how to make a good visual design of our web site.

• Make sure your text is easy to read. Keep readability in mind when choosing your font, type size, page positioning, and colors! Gray type on a white background looks chic, but is nearly impossible to read, especially in quantity. Choose strong colors for links and visited, to make them stand out as much as possible.
• Think carefully about graphics. Do they add value to the site? Do they support the statement you're trying to make?
• Colors matter. Your color choices should reflect the personality of your program or department, but definitely should not inhibit readability.
• Don't place anything on your site that doesn't serve a purpose.

A good website for business purposes according to yourmis.com should have a professional design and the navigation needs to be simple and should give the viewer the information that they needed. The design needs to work with the “buttons” or “navigation”. Sitemaps are good for the search engine but viewers often do not use them. So from the home page and from all other pages, a site needs to offer the viewer the main pages the viewer is most likely to want or need.
The design of the website is important but what is more important than the design is the content of the website. As what the webreference.com stated on their article about the guidelines of having a great website, our site should have credible and original content. Sites that have linked other sites are good and the sites that have the information that's useful are those that will be revisited. And also a great website should provide valuable and timely information to the user. This is important especially on a company’s website. Whether you are selling products or services over the internet the content of the site should be updated regularly. ls.berkeley.edu provide some important things we should remember when putting contents in our website. According to the article we should think first who the target audience of the website are. A website can have one or more types or level of users. Next is to decide what those users want from your website. And of course more important is to know what the real purposes of your website are.

When constructing a business website these points are important. When you are the owner of the site and you are trying to sell something it is important to know who your target buyers are. And the site should have important information that is needed and the website should be maintained. If there are different types of information on the web site the best thing to do with it is to categorize it accordingly to make your website look cleaner and be organized. When you are targeting the global market, make sure that the all the user can understand the language of the site. It is more advisable to make an English website because if you will post something on your site with your local language some users that do not understand that language would lose their interest in your site. ls.berkeley.edu provide some important point to remember in regards to our website architechture:

• Information should be categorized logically, and labels should make sense to visitors, not just to you. Be wary of talking to yourself in language that only your department or function understands. Think about your audience.
• Information should be placed where people might logically expect it to be, and cross-referenced where it makes sense.
• Every page should provide something more than mere navigation. Avoid pages that are nothing more than long lists of links with no other content. On pages with the sole purpose of providing links, each link should be annotated or described.
• Pages should deliver what they promise. For example, a page entitled "Application Form" should bring up an application form, rather than being a generic link to the University's Undergraduate Admissions department. If you can't provide an application form, change the name of the link to accurately reflect what it provides.
• All pages should contain navigation to enable the user to get back to the starting point.
Optimizing the web pages is also an important aspect of the web site design according to webdevelopersnotes.com. Since the web site that are optimized loads quickly and the visitors of your web site a quickly get the information they wanted. Web pages that is so slow to load because of the too many flash graphics and videos. If this is the case, there are possibilities that the viewer would not be patient enough to wait for the whole page to load.
Trust is an important factor in doing business online. That is why it is also very important that your website is secured. Your business maybe just starting or a big company, guarantying the customers of the security of the information they are giving to you will make believe and trust your company. Finally a good business website has also provided a customer service link in which they can ask help for the problems that they have encountered with your products. I believe that a good business website also provides customer service. Providing a customer service on your website is an advantage. Make the customer feel that they were they are important by answering and providing quickly answers to their questions and problems. If the customers become satisfied by the services you are giving to them will make the customers stay with you, your company and your products. Below are the 6 steps in providing a good customer service in your business according to dreamsystemsmedia.com.
1. Auto-Responders - using auto-responders to notify customers as soon as they purchase will help them not worry about the order they just placed. Also make sure you have other emails set up and ready to send out as soon as anything changes on their order (status, shipping, back orders etc) . In other words - you need to be holding their hands through the entire process of buying from you.
2. Tracking Numbers - Provide tracking numbers to the customer as soon as you have them yourself so they know exactly when to expect their packages and not keep emailing you - bugging you. Let them keep pinging the UPS or FedEx website checking the status if they are THAT impatient. Better then bugging you, and losing confidence when you don’t respond right?
3. Toll Free Number - Have a 24 Hour Toll Free Number listed on your site on all pages. Make people confident that they can get a hold of you no matter what time it is. If they are considering making the purchase at 3 am in their underwear, they might see the phone number that says you can call 24/7 - it will make it a much easier choice for them to purchase. They know that they can at any time if a problem arises.
4. 3 Forms of Contact - you should have several forms of contact on your site to promote those warm fuzzy feelings of potential customers. I would suggest - phone numbers, email addresses and physical addresses at the very least. Now-a-days you have social networks where people can stay connected like Twitter, Facebook and what not. You could always use those mediums as forms of contact.
5. Follow Up - After everything has been shipped, and the customer receives order, you want to follow up with an email, or phone call making sure that everything was satisfactory throughout the whole process. Just doing this is impressive enough, and people are going to be more then willing to give you a testimonial based on this alone. I can’t tell you how many times we get emails from customers sharing testimonials because we followed up with them and made sure everything was ok.
6. Listen - Again, I feel this is the most important step in the whole process - If there are issues then you need to hear the customer out, and see their side of it, and what they want. If you build a relationship of trust with them, it will be much easier to tell them bad news (if you have to). Good customer service, and someone willing to listen will make all the difference in the world and save many sales for you.

“Customer service is one of the most important ingredients of the marketing mix for products and services,” according to thetimes100.co.uk. Giving the customers a high quality of customer service will help you and your company gain customer loyalty. To provide a good product is important to expand your customers but most customers today are not only interested in the products that are being offered by the company but also in the good services to be giving to them. “All the additional elements of service that they receive from the greeting they receive when they enter a retail outlet, to the refund and help that they receive when they have a complaint about a faulty product that they have paid for,” according to thetimes100.co.uk.

To have the best website is so hard to achieve. That is why we should make sure to have the proper web site especially for business purposes. To summarize it your entire website should have the perfect layout and design that looks clean but attractive to the eyes of the viewers. It should also look professional as it is a business website. The website should be easy to navigate and make sure to optimize your page. Taking so much time to load your entire web page is important also. You do not want your viewers wait for a long time just to see your entire page. The proper content for what your website is all about. The website should also guarantee security to the customers and to provide customer service. Even if the website already have all what it takes to perform a business deal it would not be good enough to be considered as a good business website if it does not offer customer service. Many buyers will go back to you because of the good customer service you have provided. And of course the site should be open for the comments and suggestions from the customers.

Reference:
1. http://ls.berkeley.edu/lscr/advice/web/design
2. http://www.webreference.com/greatsite.html
3. http://www.apis.ca/on_websites/what-makes-good-website.php
4. http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/design/index.php3
5. http://www.yourmis.com/characteristics-of-a-good-business-website-59/
6. http://www.dreamsystemsmedia.com/blog/index.php/the-6-steps-of-good-online-customer-service/
7. http://www.customerexpressions.com/CEx/cexweb.nsf/(GetPages)/244bb485721ebb4a85257012004f8fb4
8. http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/theory/theory--the-importance-customer-service--414.php
9.
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Mark Van M. Buladaco

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:14 pm

Electronic commerce has evidently effective for large and small companies. They have created advancement for enterprises. Eventually, electronic commerce have been a great help and it became a sole medium for companies to have business connection over the internet.


Creating a business-oriented e-commerce website is not a piece of cake. You need to have patience and perseverance as both programmer and designer. There should be escalation of steps and rules to be followed in order to be successful in designing it.


Neat and Clean but Attractive and Organized (Layout Design)


As for starters, this should be the first rule that a designer should implement. Yes, a website should be neat and clean. Just like any other interrelated things. But because it is an organizational website, it should not have extra things. Like unnecessary page elements and advertisements (banners, skyscrapers, etc.) A clean layout that uses a lot of white space enhances a site's looks. Try to keep the focus on your content, use a template for this. Use fonts that will be available on all computers to prevent your site looking messed up. A simple design layout makes it easier for you to build your website. The end result will be a website which your visitors will find easy to navigate and easy get whatever information they want. If your design look complicated - redesign and simplify it. Complicated design layout will not only make it harder for you to build your web pages, it may also confuse your visitors if your site is full of complicated mess of information. Be consistent throughout in your design approach. The background, color usage and text format should be carefully chosen and the screen layout for all your pages visibly consistent. Create a simple logo to identity your website. Have a captivating tag line somewhere with the header, and write an About Us page which describes the uniqueness of your website. These will leave an impression for your visitors to remember your website. Make a copyright statement at the bottom of you web pages. Have a clear color scheme based on the theme of your website. Choose carefully a set of colors you use for your background, text, border, tables and cells etc. The color scheme expresses the characters of your website and makes it unique and attractive. For ease of reading, the length of a text lines should not exceed certain width within the computer screen. To limit the length of a line of text, use indent text or use a table with the pre-set width. Long blocks of text passages can be tedious and strenuous to read. Try to use short sentences, short paragraphs and bulleted or numbered list form to break them up. The width of you web pages should preferably not exceed that of the computer screen. People viewing your site usually don’t mind scrolling up and down the screen; but will be annoyed when they have to scroll left and right. Font size: use larger size font; Bear in mind that some of your visitors may have poor eyesight; some may have partial impaired vision and some ordinary people who just can’t stand reading tiny script on the computer screen. he text color should contrast well with the background color to be easily read. Likewise, Background image or texture chosen should contrast well with the text color, so that it is easy to read on screen. It looks great on the screen and soothing to the eyes. But it is not recommended to use white text on a dark background. When somebody wants to print out your page for reference, it won't print because the background will not be printed; while the white text is printed on white paper, you see nothing. The images you put in a web page are not there just for decoration. They should be relevant and necessary to use as visual to help to convey the message, or serve to break a long and monotonous text messages. Limit the size of an image you insert in a web page. Large image takes longer time to display, and most visitors don’t like to wait too long to view a certain image. Choose your text and background colours carefully. A general rule is to use dark text against a light background. Remember to make the text large enough to be easily read. Keep your page layout neat and tidy and avoid using animations: they can be distracting and in some cases slow down the load time of your pages. Remember, the more complicated you make your pages, the more likely people will give up and click away: keep it simple. Make sure your pages can be viewed without the need to scroll horizontally across the screen. Vertical scrolling is acceptable however.

Easy Navigation


Navigation of links on your site plays a big role in determining the stickiness of your site (how long your visitor stays and explores your site). Ask yourself this, What do visitors do as soon as they open your site? They would probably read the content of the present page and then look around to find any other page that interests them. Ensure that the visitors get around navigating your website with ease. They should be able to find what they are looking for in quickly and get there. Use a menu or image map, a site map, arrows, links and buttons to provide direction to your visitors. Make sure the pages are interlinked for easy navigation. Links should be well organized, strategically placed and easy to detect by using appropriate colors. Use anchor links to facilitate navigation on the same page. Always check for any broken links and fix them. A clean layout and neat navigation and using a lot of white space for your site enhances its looks. Try to keep the focus on your content. That is why we recommend using dreamweaver templates for your site - all pages or a group of pages have one basic design and only the content varies - this way even if your site is a little distracting due to necessary effects, your design is noted once (hopefully with a appreciative eye :-) and then the visitor focused on the content automatically. Prepare your site navigation before designing to prevent cluttering up the site with forgotten links. If you have too many links then you should use drop-down menus or flyouts for your main topics. If you have Fireworks or Dreamweaver then macromedia drop-down menus are one of their most popular in-built "Behaviors". Otherwise you can use our own copy-paste code for drop-down menus in the article SmartWebby Drop-down Menus (This article is part of our Simple DHTML Guide a collection of copy-paste DHTML snippets written especially for designers). The navigation should be flexible enough to accommodate any amount of additional links in case you probably will be adding pages periodically. For this using drop-down menus or section home pages is a must. Keep your main links together as much as possible so that visitors can absorb them at one shot and know what your site conveys about your company. Check out how all our major links appear in our top navigation bar and all related section links are listed in the right hand side menu. If you like a graphic intensive site and find there is not much space for accommodating all your links, you can have a separate home (splash) page and all other pages as content pages. Thus your home page can have visual appeal and your inner content pages can have elaborate navigation structures while focusing on the content. Use your navigation space efficiently. Use short, clear and precise words in your links so that your visitors know what the corresponding page will contain. Make sure you check your site for Internet Explorer 5+, Mozilla Firefox 1.0, Opera 7.0 and Netscape Navigator 6+ as they constitute 95% of the worlds browsers.

Optimum Load Time

It is important to have a reasonably fast loading web site so that viewers are not made to wait for a long time and to accommodate users on slow internet connections. Search engine algorithms also do take into consideration your load time. Make sure your load time is low. For this you must: Minimize Graphics, Flash and scripts: They hugely increase your file size. Optimize your HTML & script code: Make sure that your site doesn't have any unwanted tags or unused scripts. Use Server Side Include (SSI) files where ever possible. SSI files once called from the web server reside in its cache so on subsequent requests they load faster. Design using nested tables instead of using cell merges and splits. Use separate tables where ever possible. Not designing for 100% height is better as if you use just one outer table, the web page is displayed only after the table is loaded fully. If many outer tables are present [you can have different tables for the header, content, footer, etc. the page displays the content of each table as soon as its elements are loaded. Keep the size of a web page small so that it will open up fast - preferably less than 10 seconds. If the page is too long, have too many items to load and slow to display, you should consider breaking it into smaller pages and link them up. Contents such as video, audio, flash animations etc. are huge in size. They will slow down the display of the page. If it takes too long for to load a page, the viewers might give up and leave. They also use up more of your bandwidth. As much as possible optimize heavy graphics, Flash files and scripts. In editors like fireworks and flash you can see the various options in the preview panel to reduce the sizes. See how popular web sites like google and yahoo have pages that are very small in size and thus load in seconds. Most fast loading sites have very simple designs. Take the hint! Complicated designs will slow down your pages. In case you find yourself having very long pages of content, break them down into separate sections and thus bring down the sizes of the individual pages. Basically try to make use of HTML as much as possible. Use CSS Styles for text links to make them as attractive as buttons.



Reference:

http://www.great-web-design-tips.com/
http://www.wickedinnovations.com/blog/?p=25
http://webhostph.com/web-design/
http://www.immediasite.com/Successful_Website_Tips.htm
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norma galua



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Join date : 2008-06-12

PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)   Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:08 am

An organizational website serves as a business store or establishment in a traditional offline environment. It is your backbone to excel in online business. Traditionally, these establishments are designed accordingly on what the business is all about. Its designed was considered to attract customer and make the establishment to be conducive in doing business. To gain customer in virtual environment is the same as the traditional way. However, additional factors have to be considered as human interaction in online business is eliminated. Having a website requires thorough planning from its design to its implementation. Every single entry has to be considered as this will affect your site positively or negatively, but in website design factors that have taken for granted usually end up with negative comment on your site. This situation tends to lose customers or visitor that leads to lose of profit for the business. Therefore, sites like this are not considered profitable websites.

According to Maryam Piracha on her article “Ecommerce Website Design Considerations” states that designing an e-commerce website is no longer designing around an internet shopping cart and requires catering to an entirely set of considerations. She said that before jumping in to designing an e- commerce site, the company has to understand first what the site will do and what the specific goals it sets to achieve. Just like any piece of work, businesses either online or offline need to have a strategic planning, and set of goals. In designing websites, goals found to be very significant as this will guide the whole process. However, setting of this goal should starts to be profitable since the final output of the website is based on the set goals.

(Maryam Piracha,2007) The following factors are some useful design tips for e-commerce websites:

Defining a USP
The first order of business is understanding a unique selling point for instance what specific product or service are you providing, what benefits stand to differentiate you from your competitors. Understanding your "value proposition" and communicating it quickly (remember, you only have the first few seconds to attract visitors) is the first step.

In designing a website, try to put yourself on the visitor’s shoe. The costumer should understand what your business all about and what your provide in the first glance. Customers don’t tend to browse and do more clicks to understand fully if this site will provide what they need. Definitely they will leave and look for other sites. Making the visitor understand your site content in a glance, doesn’t mean you have to put bulky advertising on all your products. No, it will look like a mess. Considerations have to be taken on that matter.

Understand Your Target Audience
The next step is to understand your target market. Once you've pinpointed just who you're building the website for, you need to design the website around the market research.

Since your business in associated with internet technologies, it tends to cover all marketplaces, local and international market. A business cannot manage to dominate in all this. So, you have to specify the scope of your business, so that you can have a specific goal to excel on that market and have enough information in making a profitable site.

Customer Friendly
Your website needs to look professional. The general concept of having a casual look to appeal to the "casual" customer is great...in theory. But casual customers aren't your only customers and your website needs to be designed around the majority. So professionalism, customer convenience and easy to read sales copy with an easy follow-through are key.Most of e-commerce site target international market, so with different nationalities. With that your site should generally user friendly as possible.

Search Engine Friendly
Most of today's traffic is directed by search engines like Yahoo!, Google, Ask.com etc and any design stratgy needs to include a search engine optimization plan. Even if you plan to buy it, for example Google's AdWords.
There are instances in personalizing one’s search engine. Personalized search engine would be of great advantage as you have a choice on what a search should output. One can have a plan in making it beneficial for the business, so able to provide more profit for the company. This could be added on marketing strategy of the company.

Cash Flows
Costs are one of the most important factors to consider in any design plan. Many hosting packages include specific web site tools and services, which can either be bought by paying upfront or paying a subscription. Both methods have their advantages; the first method is a software-based solution, which can be used for a longer period. The second allows a test and evaluation period for the package before running it on your website.

Understanding all of these is not enough to come up with a profitable site, there still a lot of factors to consider especially on its content and appearance. You should think about these pointers and put them into consideration to have a viable E-commerce website.

Price List
Avoid hiding the price list. Some websites do this and is very annoying for most visitors. Some even display the price after the guest have registered or after hitting the “buy” button. Whatever the reason behind this is, it could be misinterpreted that you are selling a higher-priced product. It should be always available at least on the bottom of the features of the products. This way, after assessing at the functionality, the potential customer could already know if it fits the budget. If the price of the product cannot be seen immediately, it is almost always that customer will be driven away.
Most of the customers are trying to visit many sites as possible to look for the product and services they need for price comparison. Most of them go for the cheapest price. This is also a factor to consider, your product price should be based on the current price list in the market, not necessarily hide price to mislead customers. Remember trust is still a foundation to gain more profits as well as customers.

In putting a product in a site, this should be categorized based on its functionality, benefit, feature, color, and size. It is necessary as it reflects also how your product is arranged in your warehouses. Scattered display of products caused confusion for the visitor. As have mentioned, always put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You will know and judge by yourself if your site is presentable in displaying your product.

Pictures and Descriptions
Pictures and descriptions should also be shown in the page. Screen shots will do if it is a software product. If it is a tangible product it is best to have its image displayed so that it will be more appealing to the potential customer. Brief description is also important. Consumers rely on this when deciding whether to purchase the product or not. Since product is being displayed virtually, this eliminates the nature of having an actual sight and touch for the product. This found to be a disadvantage for the customer in some way or another. Your site should display the almost actual pictures of the products and maybe add some animation on it that makes it look like the real one. This is one way of gaining trust from your customer.

Buttons
Do not make your customers suffer by making them browse through several pages before finding the buy button. One of the reasons, besides comfort, in shopping through the net is because it will save some time. Remember that some customers decide fast even without reading all the features of the product. Have you buy or download button available at all times. At least have one on each page. If it is a very one, then you could use two buttons.

Site Navigation Bar
Like in any other website, visitors should be able to navigate the site easily. Making a navigation or menu bar is the way to do it. As for an e-commerce website, it is suggested to put home, products, order form, price list, support and about us as the navigation keys.

From enumerated factors to be considered in creating websites, one can say that it almost done in making its website profitable. However, profitable site can be measured also though customer satisfaction. As ordinary internet users, one aspect that can make us satisfied is the speed of internet connection. Waiting for your site to load could be a waste for customer time. Customer won’t want to visit your site again that will also lead to lose of profit.

Speed of internet connection can be managed through website design by eliminating traffic. According to Wikipedia, “Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines through natural or organic search results”. Organic Search Engine rankings depend on a number of factors which all combine to decide the positioning of a webpage in the SERPs, also known as Search Engine Ranking Pages.

The ranking factors can be classified into the following:

On-page or On-site factors

On-page and on-site factors include Page Title Tags, Meta Keyword and Meta Description Tags, web page content, internal linking between pages, URL structure of a site and similar factors.

Title Tags
One of the most important tags for a webpage is the Title Tag, which gets displayed in Search Results when your website comes up in rankings after someone carries out a keyword search. It is very important to use the right keywords in the title tag of your webpage when you want to rank high for a Keyword on Search Engines. The title tag is what actually attracts users to click on your site link when they see your page in SERPs.

Meta Tags
The Meta Keyword and Meta Description Tags are also important factors related to on-page optimization. Although Google has started giving less importance to the Meta Tags, some search engines still give relative importance to these tags, which is why adding correct Meta Tags to your web pages is important.

Web Page Content
The text or content that you use on your site can be the deciding factor if your site will rank better than your competitor in the SERPs. Good quality and un-duplicated content is the secret to any high quality and informative site. Unique and fresh content on your website pages is what search engine spiders are always looking for, as they say “content is food for the bots”. According to David Callan, “On the internet content is king and always will be”. Make sure you keep adding content to your site pages to make them useful and informative for your users as well as for the search engines.

Internal Linking
Internal linking is one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to SEO, although it is one of the most important factors for ranking. Proper internal linking of pages within the site with appropriate anchor texts can help boost the page ranking which is being linked in the SERPs. Internal linking is also helpful in passing PR to the linked pages.

URL Structure
The URL structure also contributes to the ranking of your website pages in the SERPs. For example if you have a dynamic URL structure for your site, it will be difficult for the search engine spiders to crawl your pages. However, if you use a static approach for the navigation structure of your site, and use keywords in the URLs, it will help give your web pages a boost in rankings in the SERPs. It is important to carry out keyword research before finalizing the directory structure of your site to get the maximum benefit from your website navigation.

Remembering all those factors, any companies who ventured into online business could gain more profit in their profitable sites. Many multinational and large businesses in e- commerce succeeded though its site. Taking those factors will give big chances for the e-business: satisfy both the customer and supplier.


Reference:

http://www.dotdna.com/publish/articles/43/1/Ecommerce-Website-Design-Considerations/Ecommerce-Design-Considerations.html
http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin/website/index.pl?read=581
http://wickedinnovations.com/portfolioMS.html
http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design/redesign-process/
http://www.articlesbase.com/web-design-articles/website-designing-designing-your-website-there-are-several-important-factors-717294.html
http://www.acm.org/crossroads/xrds7-1/ecuser.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?5-Factors-Of-An-Effective-eCommerce-Web-Site-Design&id=487727
http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/tips/55.htm
http://blog.etrix.ie/2007/11/21/important-factors-to-consider-for-your-website-seo/
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giesi mae l. gorgonio

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PostSubject: assignment 4   Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:57 am

It is undeniably obvious how the technology influenced the way we are living now. It has brought us numerous improvements and advantages that is why some would even say that they can not leave without it.

We all know that business is very important part of our society, and this is one of the several reasons why we should be thankful to live in this era witnessing and experiencing how the technology transform the activity that fuels the development.

The development of the Internet and E commerce has made a significant impact to us. In the real world where development is propelled by business activities, the Internet has developed into a world where business activities have become a very common but important event.

The intensification of hasty internet connectivity and millions of individuals that are engaging in businesses online e commerce in different part of the globe at any given moment has opened the doors for many to reach customers everywhere. Here, big and small businesses have equal opportunities because they can appear to be equal.

An e commerce web site offers enormous potential benefits to businesses whatever their size. The e commerce web site is the market place for e merchant and e buyers to meet. It is very important to know the basics and details on how to gain customers and potential sales even if you do not see them face to face. How can you make them feel comfortable as if they are shopping in the real world? Just like in the physical world, careful study and critical decision making is important in order to gain and make sure to guarantee a high yield e commerce site. If you are able to manage and design your e commerce web site, your business will surely rocket in the virtual world. So what is the benefit in having a good and e commerce web site to a business? According to an article that I have read, the following are some it:
1.) Access to a global market – as I mention above, the Internet allows businesses to access the variety of markets to gain potential customers around the world.

2.) Cutting out the middleman – now, businesses can save up to third part because they can sell directly to its end users

3.) A level playing field – here, even a small business can equal the big conglomerate in the virtual world. A newbie in a small business can show itself to be as professional and credible as its larger competitors

4.) 24-hour business – because you are in the virtual world, a business owner can accept payments online, through a web site. You are always open for business to customers even if your office is closed.

5.) Greater customer satisfaction – if manage well, it can be a powerful tool to build loyalty to customer. A web site can let the customer buy, look through, inquire, and follow its order because it is now traceable.

6.) Reduced marketing costs – you can reduced the cost and expenses in marketing through treating customers well with of course your strategy in keeping you ahead over you competitors.

7.) Better customer information – you can observe and get your needed information in building your strategic plan because you can look at closely with the details and buying habits of your customer every time they enter your site.

8.) Streamlined business processes – increasingly companies are integrating their business processes. Orders come in to their website, card details are processed, goods dispatched and stock re-ordered seamlessly, dramatically reducing the cost of each sale.

Upon knowing how an e commerce web site can help your business, it is surely worth spending your time reading this article. If you want to develop and venture online business some they, read the following information. What are the things you need to consider in designing your web site? From the articles that I have read, these are the following information:

According to some expert, no matter how significant or relevant your site is if it is very slow to download chances are your potential client might not stick around. In this very fast evolving world, people do not have a minute to waste. In this world where almost all people are in a hurry, the following can help your web site not slow up:

1.) Limit use of flash
During our Multi-media class, our teacher mention that in our present time, flash is no longer in the trend. Though flash is a typical example of style and definitely has a place in professional web design, it can cause the speed of your site to slow down. Besides, most of your potential visitors don’t have the correct flash player. Also, it can affect your search engine optimization efforts since it is not accessible in the search engines.

2.) Compress your images

Pictures and other images can attract your visitor and can affect the looks of your site. You should realize that it also occupy so much space when you create web design. It is recommended that you should compress your image or picture before putting it in your web. In this way you can reduce the size of your image by up to half of its original size.

3.) Clean up your code

You should be careful in cleaning up your code even if you are using HTML code because even the extra space and unclose tag can affect and can add the size of your file.

4.) Use thumbnails
Small pictures and images can be helpful in the design technique for e commerce web site.

5.) Switch to CSS

The most preferable code that most of the web designers are using now is the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). You can organize your code and can also save download time.

6.) Reduce server requests

Having different element of your web site from different server can reduce the loading time.

7.) Pay attention to page size
According to some professional web designer, the ideal page size is around 30KB. You should observe and keep in mind that big page size can slow response time.


Those are just some basic tips in designing your business web site. Since the aim of most business site is to give the best service to its clients, it is important to create and design the site that can attract and entice your potential customer. Many are looking for more advanced shopping cart features in order to them feel that they are like shopping in the real world. Here are some tips for your cart features that can help bring out the confidence and encourage sales:
1.) Payment Options

Since most of the visitors of online stores are using digital cash, your shopping card software must be able to process digital cash transactions. You should also consider not only those that are using credit card but also offer options such as PayPall®, Google® Checkout, checks, and/or money orders allows more people to feel comfortable checking out on your site.

2.) Site Search & Browse

Your visitors may need for a fast service. So there is a need for online stores to allow their customer to search for whatever product they may be interested with. In this way, they can navigate to categories to see its corresponding price, brand and etc. it is important to include a search feature on your site.

3.) Product Reviews

Testimonials of customers are important and can gain a potential impact on your sale. It is a way to encourage other visitor to try what others have experienced.

4.) Wish List/Registry
It is important in order to allow customers to save item online and return to it later. It is important to give additional features that can help your customer feel that they have a freedom in what they want.

5.) Real-Time Inventory

Keeping a careful monitoring on the available stock is important to make your customer aware that what they can see on the screen is accurate. In short, real time inventory management is important.

6.) Express Checkout
The check out process must be simple as possible making them feel comfortable not like in the physical store that you need to stand in the counter waiting for there turn to be entertained.

7.) Order Tracking

It is important to allow customers to track their order so that they may not be waiting in vain if there is something wrong.

8.) Special Offers

Having some new ways to encourage and entice customers is important just like in the physical store. You can give them special offers to gain their loyalty.

9.) Website Security

You should build an e commerce site with built-in SSL data encryption because security is very important in this kind of business. When you display SSL Certificate, customers feel confident that their personal information is protected.

Additional information aside from the above stated:

1. It is also important that when users misspell the product they want to search, you should be able to recognize it just like Google and other search engines and find some substitute in it. It is very important to inform your customer that they misspelled because the tendency is, they would leave your site and you will lose potential sale.

2. Providing user-friendly forms is recommended which encourage customers to fill in the forms. If you present form with large quantity of boxes, the tendency is that they will leave your site without completing the form.

3. A concise email follow up is important to make your customer aware of the confirmation. Make sure that it is in the form that your customer will not be annoyed by minimizing page that is full of advertisement. The recommended length is only one page containing only the information that your customer require.

4. Make sure that your shopping cart is designed to handle crashes so that when the costumer return to the shopping cart after he crashes happen, he or she can find it still intact.

5. The speed of the internet connection today is very fast changing. Quick download time is important; though broadband now is rapidly increasing there are still countries that were not reached by it. So better to designed it using HTML to reduce the download times.

6. Also, make sure that the image reflects the brand of your product placement. Correct branding is important and clean inviting look of your site clearly defined the reputation of it.




It is important to choose advanced cart features that help you sell and succeed online business. According to an article, e commerce shopping carts are just like engines that keep online stores running smoothly. As a merchant, you have to make sure that you will provide the needed information for your customer. It must make sure that the information is complete, clear and correct. It should be keep in mind that unlike the physical store that have real people to solve your customers problem just like maintaining the displays and many others. The web sites needs to provide quality information to satisfy customer needs. Remember that virtual stores don’t have real people to assist there needs and queries. It is critical to make certain that the information you provide and displayed is clear, concise and provide accurate up to date information. Anything lacking and less will make your sales decline. Providing them their needed and updated information (though it is very time consuming for the company), this will demonstrate that your have a great commitment to customer service. Another thing that you have to consider is the delivery times. There are those companies that overstate and exaggerate their delivery times. Though almost every body is in a hurry and customer may want it the soonest possible, you have to consider that we are in different geographic and demographic areas. You must address the issues regarding delivery times that suit you and your customer. You must inform her or him in advance how much cost that will be added to the original price though delivery time now is not a big issue anymore.

Having the needed technology doesn’t give you an assurance that you will succeed in your business. The above mentioned are just some of many suggestion to be taken in to consideration on how you manage virtual business, the important is, you are ready to handle and deal with uncertainties.

sources:
http://www.networksolutions.com/e-commerce/guide/ecommerce-shopping-cart.jsp
http://www.ecommerce-guide.com/solutions/customer_relations/article.php/3390731
http://www.stevearun.com/124/ar-001ar-ogwu-promoting-customer-sales-and-loyalty-through-web-design/
http://knol.google.com/k/steve-winnington/creating-effective-ecommerce-sites/mf86h2ycq1jd/2#
http://www.networksolutions.com/custom-website-packages/guide/web-site-design.jsp
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Jazz



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Age : 28

PostSubject: Assignment 4   Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:01 am

“In the design of physical products, the use of words is often seen as a sign of a flaw of the design. On the contrary, in web design, without words, there is no design.”
What does a website look like? In particular, what would a website look like if you took away all its words? Or put it this way: How would your website work if you took away all its words? You can’t touch, squeeze, grip, and walk around, size up or down a website. In fact, you get practically no sense of the use of a website by looking at it. It’s just another website with three column design, smiling faces and pictures of buildings.
You understand the use of a website by reading it. You read the labels, classifications, buttons, and other pieces of text. That’s how you know what the website is about. That’s how you know what to do next. Usability is not often thought of as a criterion during the purchasing process. Moreover, unless you actually test a number of units in a realistic environment doing typical tasks, you are unlikely to notice the ease or difficulty of use. If you just look at something, it appears straightforward enough, and the array of wonderful features seems to be a virtue.
On the Web, before you can get to the product or service of the organization, you have to use the website. What you are essentially using is words. Words can make you wait or speed you on your journey. Words can make you more confused or answer a question you had. A website designer is a designer of words. Website usability is the principal measure of success. The Web turns design on its head. Everything builds from the word.
Frustration is a common experience among marketers trying to judge the quality of a web site design. Everyone wants to implement the best-looking web site, but opinions of what constitutes a great site vary. Fortunately, what constitutes a good web site isn't based on opinion. It is based upon evidence. Although the 'look and feel' of many well-conceived web sites may vary greatly, good web sites tend to share a number of characteristics. The Guidelines provide marketers with a good overview and deep understanding of the wide range of Web design issues that they may encounter while managing a web site. The Guidelines provide marketers with standards that can be used to judge web designs. Marketers can request that the web designers and developers they work with follow relevant portions of the Guidelines and can use the Guidelines to set priorities. While the number of guidelines can seem daunting, many provides a tool developed in cooperation with AARP that allows site visitors to sort guidelines based on their overall relevance and the amount of supporting evidence. This means it is possible to identify and focus on the most important guidelines for success.
"When you make good design decisions early, you prevent a lot of potential problems." The value of a good website design can never be underestimated. Web design is defined as a method of perception, preparation, and implementation, and it is important that this process is carried out effectively. Doing so requires skill that can take several years to master. It is not something that an amateur can handle and therefore an expert who has acquired ample expertise in this field is the right person who not only can give your website the desired aesthetic look and feel but along with it will ensure that your website has a professional look too. First and foremost what you need to remember is the fact that the website is designed for visitors and the primarily come to your website looking for information. Your website will influence the user's initial perception of the website’s significance and persuade them to explore deeper into your website.

Your website is the spokesperson on behalf of you and so it must expose your business and the products or services you provide positively facilitating the very purpose it is intended to accomplish. A well-crafted web design should therefore constructively concentrate on the core requirement of your customer both in terms of accessibility and information, thus helping in effective decision-making. Therefore, it is crucial that your website is structured in such a way that the visitor can locate his required information easily and quickly, and need not look around for too long or has a chance of getting lost in the website. Lack of a proper structure and information can puzzle the visitor and make him quit within a few seconds without even going deeper into your website. Hence the result is you can loose a visitor, who could have possibly been your customer.

The essence of good web site design is not just having great graphic or wonderful colors on the website, but along with its great look there are subtle factors that make your website well balanced thus delivering your business message seamlessly. Some such useful hints that should be considered in order to label a website as ‘good’ are listed below:

a. The website should have a neat and proper navigation. This is one of the most important points to be taken into account while designing your website. The Homepage of the website should have a Top and a Left Navigation in order to give the visitor a glimpse of what is available within your website.
b. Make sure that the Homepage is linked from all the inner pages of your website via a ‘home’ link on the website navigation menu, which ideally comprises of ‘home’, ‘about us’, ‘site map’ and ‘contact us’. However this can vary from case to case. Also the Logo of the website should idyllically have a link to the Homepage of the website.
c. Yet another very vital thing that you should always remember to put in your website is a ‘Site Map’. It helps to understand the visitor the structure of your website like what are the main menus and what are the submenus located under those main menus etc. The visitor can simply select the page that he needs and can be there with a mere click of his mouse button.
d. Is compatible with all browsers and connections which you can possibly make it compatible with -- not just the latest versions of IE and Netscape. All people do not use IE and Netscape. Designing your webpage to only work with those browsers is discrimination
e. Uses graphics when called for. Images are used to enchase the actual content, not replace it. Also keep in mind that folks on a slower internet connection may give up after waiting minutes for your page to finish loading.
f. Doesn't overzealously use every single technology the webmaster could think of. No one likes overuse of crap like <marquee> and <blink>, and no one wants to stay at a page with sparkles following the cursor, 10 windows popping up, a message scrolling in the status bar, and all that while playing an annoying MIDI soundtrack.
g. Originality. Make your website look unique. Don't rip off someone else's site like http://www.bidbay.com/ did, and don't use a template which a million other people use. If you must use something like PHP-Nuke, fine, but at least customize it.
h. Good content. If you don't have good content, why would anyone come back?
The success or failure of your website is not determined by how good your web designer is or how skilled you are at website marketing - it is in fact determined well before your website is written. Only 5% of websites will ever appear on page 1 or page 2 of search engines for their desired keywords hence try to avoid these mistakes before you begin writing your website. There are many tools available to web designers where keyword research is concerned - not using these is the single worst mistake a web designer can make. Other than confirming what you suspected, keyword research usually reveals many niche terms that visitors use when looking for your kind of business/service. The niche terms (long tail keywords) with less traffic may in fact be more desirable to you as visitors are usually much more specific just before they make a buying decision. Not checking out your competitors could prove costly in terms of wasted time/money -without competitor research you won't be able to tell weather your page 1 competitors have a few or thousands of back links, and you wont be able tell how many content rich pages their websites have. Competitive research will also help you determine any areas you could improve as far as page planning is concerned. Moneysupermarket.com who usually rank no1 for 'mortgage' and have over 300 thousand back links & thousands of pages would hence cost a fortune to outrank. Doing exactly the same thing as your competitors is likely to make you blend into the abyss of failed or failing websites. Quality web design is all about being different - hence unless you spend some time planning to be better than your competitors then you are likely to fail. Think about better content, better visitor experience, easier navigation, and special offers - anything that distances you away from the average - If you make the effort so will your visitor. fail on this point & it doesn't matter what else you have got right - many visitors use search engines to resolve a problem: this could be: find a product, find a supplier, find a service provider etc - hence answer your visitors immediate question & provide plenty of supporting content. The more thoughtful you are with your content the more likely your visitors will turn into business. It’s like the old saying: 'fail to prepare - prepare to fail' - inadequate page planning will inevitably result in lower rankings. Use well researched keywords in: titles, descriptions, headings, footers, menu text, link text, paragraphs, page names & directories. Keep your layouts consistent & your menus easy to follow. If you have the necessary skills prepare to write your website in scripting language such as ASP/PHP for greater control of layout & functionality & consider building in CMS so pages can be added or removed easily. You can create the greatest website in the world & still fail through failing to plan your marketing - you must decide weather to do this yourself or pay for this is done. This decision should be based on the mountain or molehill of link building that you will have to do, your marketing skill level & the amount of time you have to spare – competitor research will give you all the information you need to make this decision. If you don't plan for website marketing then it likely that you won't do any and still fail. cheap hosting deals overseas may not necessarily be good for your website as many search engines today use 'Geo Targeting' in some manner in their ranking algorithms and you visitors may find your website slower than your competitors. Where possible use host with servers located in your home country & look at live review sites before making a decision. If your site is geared for high traffic and/or overseas trade then use a dedicated server and insure you host has good peering agreements with the countries that you are likely to do business with. Always check your host's IP address to insure the servers really are based where the host claims they are. you have approximately 3 seconds to make your first impression hence insure your color scheme is perfect for your website & is unlikely to offend your visitors. Avoid luminous color schemes & take care when designing websites geared for other countries as certain colors have major cultural significance. Avoid using any more than 3 colors in your scheme & insure these are web safe & matched well. Poor planning in this area is likely to make your website look amateur. choosing fonts that are tough to read makes it hard work for your visitors and even worse for anyone with visual impairment. Use basic fonts such as Arial & Helvetica wherever possible, else use fonts that are clear & match your website theme well. choose a domain that contains your keywords & select the correct domain suffix (top level domain) - whilst using your keywords in your domain is not essential, it helps with towards your page ranking. Choosing the wrong suffix will not help you achieve listings in the right territory.
In a nutshell, a good design adds value to your website and its performance. And what is you are not serious about your website’s design and pay no attention to it? A tawdry designed website is sure to dissuade users from even entering your website. Again a design that is entirely inappropriate for the website's theme can cause much harm. As long as you provide your visitors with such poor design, be rest assured that you will never have returning visitors. So, why not give your website that ‘professional’ element thus conveying a strong message to your visitors about your sincerity and that they can trust you with their money for guaranteed quality results and complete satisfaction.
Website is the online persona of a company. It contains numerous company related matters that concerns Internet promotion and marketing. A website should have a unique and memorable web address. A website is a representation of the company, their products and their mission and vision. A good website can make an impact on the company's profit and help gain return on investment faster.

Reference:
http://www.great-web-design-tips.com/
http://www.wickedinnovations.com/blog/?p=25
http://webhostph.com/web-design/
http://www.immediasite.com/Successful_Website_Tips.htm
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Anthony E. Catamora

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:59 am


Million of Million of websites over Internet are making the world more accessible, easy, and informative than ever thought of before. It is maybe more and more people are looking for new and easy way of getting through the fastest communication as the new and high technology apprehend to the new society. As this became of another source of new information and the odds that can still never addressed its causes for last. Though may are still making their way to this new approach such as having access to the Internet and build their own domains and published their own personalized website neither it is for commercial purpose nor just for personal use as whatever they wanted. As the usage of Internet websites by most small, medium, and corporate businesses and other forms of organisations has mushroomed all over the world. These different types of organisations have virtually established their name and interest in the field they choose to serve and even single individuals are just simply on to this new trend of commercialism and communication among different types of people all over the world. This is much even used and seemed to be part of the norms of communication as it became the center of new way of introducing commercialization to access the different needs and interest of billion of people who are using the tremendous power of Internet technology. However, the ubiquitous of accessibility of the internet does not yet satisfied the economical and cultural stability of every country in the world.

Having all the websites mushroomed in the cyber space, many are having their own initiatives to work on the process of establishing the standards of a good website and it motivates the interest of the individual or a group of organisations through using the most of the power of Internet connection world wide. In such that the electronic commerce has the immense growth and development in propagating the effective ways in getting what are the new approaches in addressing the needs of the people and achieving higher of end of profit at a least cost. It is now being enjoyed by many of the Internet and computer savvy people using Internet technologies. Hence, there is a massive growing rate of Internet user including those who are inclined and fond of having online purchasing as this being figured out annually.
Furthermore, interaction between the organization and its customer through it website is a very vital process in determining the expectations of both party. There are several ways of how to feed the expectations of the customers in organisationl websites in such a way they can put their trust to those electronic commerce providers. According to www.jgdesigngroup.com (2009) that there are thirteen (13) ways to evaluate an e-Commerce provider in which customers’ expectations are to be answered and be able to understand how to examine a good and trusted organizational website where they can rely on as the expectations are answered as well. The indicated ways are as follows:

- Evaluate Real Web Sites
1. Look at sample sites that use the solution you are considering. Visit actual sites that use the software, not just demo sites.
2. Pay attention to the visual design of the sites.
3. Do not use a cart that requires the shopper to sign up for an account before they can buy.
- Evaluate Search Engine Placement
4. Check the google page rank on some of the sites in the provider’s portfolio.
5. Pick a few sites that use the software you are considering and try to find them in Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
- Evaluate Features Offered and Costs
6. Look carefully at what features will cost more.
7. Find out what's included in the setup cost. For many providers, you do most of the work of creating your web site.
8. Are merchandising tools available or included? Are features such as free shipping offers, featured products, sale items, customer testimonials, email newsletter signup, and email this page to a friend available? All of these tools increase the selling power of your site.
9. Try out the administration tool.
10. Does the solution allow you to easily create additional pages? Does the solution allow/provide that each of your products has it's own web page?
Evaluate Customer Service
11. Some solutions are 'hosted', some you install on your computer and host anywhere. In general, a hosted solution will require less technical knowledge and you'll get the benefit of "one stop service".
12. Get references.
13. Pick up the phone and call the provider

The suggested thirteen ways are divided into three actions such as evaluate real websites, evaluate search engine placement, evaluate features offered and costs, and evaluate customer service. In the first part, one, we have to first look for a sample sites that provide the solution we are looking for. We have to make sure that the site is actually using the software and this makes sense if the site is real. We have to explore well the website's content as we navigate all the web pages of the site. Second, taking attention to the physical appearance of the site if it does have consistency regarding with its visual design and how it is being materialized knowing of all costs before we happen to go forward for subscribing the service or the product. The third one, we must have the initiatives to think more before we subscribe without knowing the actual products the site offered. I must say that we must invoke to that to ourselves that the site should have easy and convenient access navigation for its users. The fourth one, under evaluate search engine placement, is we must make sure ourselves that the site is known by others to that specific jobs or service or distribution for such a certain product by checking its page rank. There are several sites such as Google.com who offered such service in checking the ranking of a certain website through its performance on the web. This will let the customers know how active those sites in offering their service to other sites who are also their valued client or customer on web. This measures the updates, page views, hits, page impressions, and the traffic of the sites. I, myself also using this kind of technology in my blog for I am be able to know if my blog has active visitors and having links to other link to other as well as being evident of existence. The fifth one, the customers should be able to know that the sites they found are guaranteed accessible in the query of every search engine sites. There are many ways to prove and show how the site truly accessible in querying the search engine system. The sixth one, under the evaluation of features offered and costs, the customers must also be aware of the dynamicity of the price of every features and sometimes like we, customer, almost forget to consider some other features that we most not need at all. At the least instance of unexpected things, websites must be able to expect having a price consistency and accuracy to provide a harmonious expectation of the customers. The seventh one, the website’s offered product should be expected to be easy to set up all along the way of installation where the time cost is least to be consumed. The eighth one, the website is also expected to offer more efficiencies and advantages to its potential and valued customers as the offered products project a success function. The nineth one, the customer must also be aware of trying out the administration tool. The tenth one, the customer should also be able to maximize the usage website’s product and service which in some significant points it is to be expected. Under the evaluation of customer service, the eleventh one is take place first. The website must also be able to provide a satisfaction of the customer service such that looking for help has an immediate access. Twelve one, the customers must know well the sites through get referencing from friends and other customers’ testimony regarding the site’s performance so that the assurance of worth your time and effort will not be disregarded at all. The thirteenth one, the customers must make sure if they are truly connected to a true sales representative or to a technical support person. These thirteen ways are ought to observe as important process of satisfying the expectations of both parties as customers and organizations in the atmosphere of Business to Business electronic commerce.
According to articlesbase.com (2008) that simplicity of layout is therefore a characteristic that is evident in some of the best Web sites around. Very often this refers to a simple one or two column structure. Pages are also read from top to bottom. The days of the complex and involved site structure that requires time to figure out in order to navigate are definitely outdated. In asserting to this view of the article, one of the most effective design characteristics is simplicity. Looking through the entirety of a website as simple is much more effective to navigate by its users or customers.

Characteristics of a good business website are being defined as follows;
- The look and feel (first impression, navigation, general appearance)
1. Professional design - not too busy or complicated. The first thing a viewer sees is the “design”.
2. Navigation needs to be simple and to offer the viewer access to the pages they want or need. The design needs to work with the “buttons” or “navigation”.
3. Naming your pages.
4. The presentation of the text needs to be considered. Text needs to be large enough, with enough contrast to its background for your target audience to read easily. Headers and subheaders need to introduce and break up the text.
- The text (”content is king”):
1. Text that is about the viewer’s needs and your credibility.
2. Use the words that the target audience is searching for.
3. A site needs fresh content on a regular basis.
4. Establish credibility.
5. Answer the viewer’s questions quickly and easily.
6. To measure how a site is doing, a site absolutely must have “statistics“.
- The Search Engines:
1. If you do all the above things, you will be “optimized” for the search engines, but in addition, there are the following points:
1. Buy your domain name for more than one year (Google will actually notice).
2. Submit to the major search engines, of course.
3. Get links from as many other places as possible.
4. Have a links page so you can recommend other related sites and maybe get them to recommend you on their links page.
2. With a new domain you will usually get into Yahoo and MSN long before Google will pay any attention to you. Google doesn’t trust new sites. A new site usually doesn’t come up decently for a competitive term for at least six months and often for a year. In that time, you may want to consider Pay Per Click.

The characteristics design of a good website which greatly affects the customers’ impression and trust are very important to obtain. In terms of navigation, impression, and general appearance, a website must establish a professional design, easy navigation, has simple keywords, and presentation of the text. The characteristic of the texts or the content itself is also very important. The texts or the content must show your credibility as an organizational website and the intentions. The site must have a quick response to the frequent asked questions of the users and it must have its own statistic to measure its performance. Aside also these things, the site should have linked to major search engines and other places in the Internet. The period of time the site stood still is also observed as a basis of a decent and competitive one site. Thus, a good website does not only show how it looks like but also how it performed well through the test of time regarding to the trust driven to this.



References

http://www.articlesbase.com/web-design-articles/what-are-the-characteristics-of-good-web-site-design-419450.html
http://www.yourmis.com/characteristics-of-a-good-business-website-59/
http://seo-kolkata.blogspot.com/2007/07/web-content-writing-characteristics-of.html
http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/internet-web-development/4015-1.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?7-Characteristics-Of-A-Great-Webpage&id=155509
http://www.jgdesigngroup.com/home/jgt3/page_1046/13_ways_to_evaluate_an_e_commerce_provider.html
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)   

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Assignment 4 (Due: before January 09, 2009, 13:00hrs)
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