Keeping your users happy

By Bryan Formidoni, Unix Insider |  Software

Font changes are made in a separate .css file, and the change propagates out to all files referring to that stylesheet.

Be concise

At our company, copy written for brochures and print material later goes online. We usually ask the writer to repurpose the copy for the Web, or we hire a copywriter who specializes in transforming normal text into Web copy. Visitors will not sift through a big blob of gray text; at best, they will scan it. Getting writers to condense their text is a constant battle, but we believe copy needs to be concise and above the fold.


We learned everything we wanted to know about usability in the cereal aisle.

Real estate has value. Most children's cereals reside on the bottom shelf. That placement allows children to easily grab the Coco Puffs, Fruit Loops, and Lucky Charms. The manufacturers who are willing to pay the most for shelf space get the middle shelf that falls at most adults' eye level. The cheap cereals get their own spot at the end.

Accessories. Cereal bars, oatmeal, grits, and other general breakfast foods are located on the same aisle. The exception is milk, which is located in the refrigerated section of the store.

Grouping. Cereal is usually grouped by the manufacturer.

Consistency. Twenty-five different Kellogg's cereals may be located in any given aisle, but they maintain their brand identity. The logo is always the same and located in the same position on each box.

Consistency with variety. Wheaties cereal is not only a great example of how to maintain a look and feel but also how to change it enough to keep it interesting. The box often features different athletes, but the logo and the cereal bowl pictured remain the same.

Incentives. Adults and children are motivated to buy when there's a physical incentive (such as a prize or coupon inside the cereal).

Effective cross-communication. Have you ever heard the tag line "Kid tested, Mother approved"? It's for Kix brand cereal. The package aims at two different audiences. The fun graphics communicate to the child, and the practical nutritional information talks to the parent.

Keep it fresh

People like Websites to be fresh, but not too fresh. Once your visitors have learned where things are, they will disapprove if you change things around. You might consider changing small spaces on your site to keep it fresh. We recommend allotting a space for features on the homepage. Featured products, press releases, or job postings can change on a daily or weekly basis.

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