As with any form of outreach or marketing, websites should be routinely critiqued by individuals within the company or source of the site as well as by outsiders. When critiquing a website, there are several aspects of the site to take into consideration. First is the overall user experience; a quality website should be clear and direct in what it wants the user to do. If the purpose is to gather information, then the website should be organized in such a way that content is easily found and processed. If the purpose is to purchase a product, opportunities to complete a sale should be easily found. If the goal is to provide users with a means of contacting a person or company, the contact information should be available in various locations, not just in an “About Us” or “Contact Us” link.
In terms of design, a quality website should be laid out so that the most important things catch the user’s eye first. Features should be intentionally used, positioned in ways that they entice users to delve deeper, and relevant to the overall effectiveness of the finished site. Similarly, the site should be professionally designed, using up-to-date graphics and stylings. The font should be clear and readable, reflecting the status one wishes to associate with the product or service in question. The color choices should be equally purposeful and relevant; a steel manufacturing company, for example, would like not want to use pinks and oranges in their website. Aspects of color therapy can be incorporated, using different shades to promote different responses in users as necessary.
Finally, an effective website should incorporate analytics as it continues to exist. Tracking users and how they interact with the website can provide invaluable information about the most popular or successful components of the finished site. Areas that are not interacted with can be improved upon or changed entirely to ensure the best possible user interface is achieved. Tracking how visitors came to find the website can also provide invaluable information. Updates should be made frequently, but not so much that users feel as though they can no longer navigate the website. Information should be updated as necessary, and slight tweaks can be made to the overall code or design, but far-reaching or broad changes should be made sparingly so as to create a sense of consistency for users.