Small Is Beautiful – True for Websites Too

Two newsletters in July from Jakob Nielsen triggered the latest SMM Newsletter. Jacob Nielsen is one of the two world-known gurus on Usability of websites. Usability deals with the ease with which website visitors can do what they want to do on the website. The first Nielsen newsletter dealt with web pages that are too big and force the visitor to scroll around to see all the web page. The second Nielsen newsletter looked at the Amazon e-commerce website. It works well for Amazon but is far too complex according to Nielsen and should not be regarded as a model for any other company. These thoughts led to the latest SMM Newsletter published on August 1st entitled, ” Small Is Beautiful Websites“. This discusses how to build an effective website by building up from an essential minimum web page. The method is similar to the Zero Base approach to Budgeting that was in vogue some 30 years ago.

In a surprising coincidence, this topic seems to be in the air at the moment. The other key guru for website Usability, Jared Spool, has just advised in his August 1st newsletter that a paper written by Gerry McGovern has been added to the UIE website. The title is “Web Content Management is Not Data Management“. One key concept here is that most websites are far too big and ineffective. The following quote is particularly apt:

I have worked with many organizations over the years who have significantly reduced the size of their websites and saw much greater success because of it. The wrong content gets in the way of the right content. For every 100 documents of content your organization produces, chances are that .. 5 of them have the potential to be killer web content. If you can develop the skill to identify those five killer web documents, polish them until they shine, and publish them separately from the other 95, you have a very bright future in front of you.

The fact that the Internet can transfer huge bandwidths of rich media material from A to B does not mean this should be done. The other key strength of the Internet is that people can find each other, even when they may not realize the other exists. It’s a question of connections – Eager Purchasers finding Potential Suppliers. The well constructed website can facilitate this process of making connections.

It’s not a question of big budgets. It’s a question of applying the budget in the most effective way. The Small Is Beautiful book over 30 years ago suggested that national economies should sparingly and more effectively use dwindling resources. The same principle should apply to the budget to be invested in a website.

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