Web Designers Should Stop Searching

Article in PC World citing UIE report.

To satisfy surfers, online content must be easy to find--without that pesky search engine.. Web-site designers should understand their users' way of thinking, introduce them to content they didn't know they were looking for, and--most of all--keep them from using the search function, according to a report released on Monday by Web research firm User Interface Engineering.

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A better practice is to offer explicit and easily navigated categories that deliver users to the content they want--typically, in an average of 4.4 clicks, compared to an average 5.1 clicks via search engines, UIE says, citing its own studies. These links brought users to the content they wanted and often introduced them to related content they weren't looking for but may be interested in. When choosing category links, however, Web designers should be careful to select keywords that easily direct users to the content they seek. To do this, designers have to understand how users think about the site's content, UIE says, and take pains to label the categories in useful ways.

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