09/09/2009

With billions of websites indexed in Google and other search engines, attracting target audiences to your company’s site can be a major challenge, says Nick Towers, Digital Director of marketing and digital agency Sagittarius Marketing.

For those who succeed, it’s even more important to give your on-line customer a rewarding and engaging experience which ensures an interaction, such as a purchase, contact, download or return visit.

Nick Towers said: “Get it right and your customers will always be able to find what they want, when they want it and how they want it. It’s about ‘usability’ and ‘findability’. Get this wrong and it doesn’t matter if you’re the best in business at what you do, your customers won’t be able to use your website or find the product or service that’s right for them.”

He explained that Information Architecture (IA) is the process of developing user journeys and functions that are efficient and effective at enabling the user to find the information, product or service that they are looking for and then, most importantly, to act upon it.

“It’s about developing appropriate organisational systems of your data and information, easy-to-use and intuitive navigational and search systems and using appropriate language and tone of voice for your audience. It’s about building a user experience that’s right for the user.

“Investing a small amount of time at the beginning of your website project in ensuring the functions and look and feel that you want are done in a way that makes them usable and simple to use can be the difference between your online presence being a major success or a disaster.

“Take the example of an e-commerce store — it can be top of Google’s search index with the best looking design known to the internet but if a potential customer can’t find the product they’re looking for and get through the checkout process then, ultimately, what was the point of creating such a website in the first place?” said Nick Towers.

Sagittarius Marketing takes information architecture so seriously that it’s a core part of its website development process. “Without taking the time to properly understand your customers and then developing an IA that is suitable for them, your website will never reach its full potential,” said Nick Towers.

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