Less Is More Where Websites Are Concerned

I chanced to find a most staggering item on Karen Blakeman’s Blog entitled UK Government to Close Down Web Sites. The UK headline sounds most upbeat:
Minister and experts announce major progress in first year of Transformational Government strategy (10 January 2007). Reading more we see the following:

The Government today launched its progress report on ?Transformational Government: enabled by technology? with the news that at least 551 government websites are to be cut to make access to information easier for citizens and businesses.

Number of websites drastically reduced

In a move that will benefit tens of millions of users, only 26 of the websites examined so far are certain to be retained by Government, while 551 will go. Information of continuing relevance from closed sites will transfer to DirectGov and BusinessLink. The move is the natural next step for Government as citizens shift their interest to ?supersites? such as the Directgov and the BBC websites.

It isn’t only government websites that are lost in the Internet wilderness. It’s also true for the vast majority of websites, including many company websites. That notion of supersites encourages the notion that you stay within a website. In other words it’s a ‘sticky’ website. This is an intriguing support for the notion of slogging. That’s the approach where business blogs become a seamless part of their companies’ websites. Clearly you cannot rely on people remembering to keep bookmarks or favorites. If there isn’t a clear route to a related Internet property, then you may well lose people on the way. In addition a plethora of websites cannot all have search-engine visibility so people may never find them.

Usability requires that you keep it simple and make navigation very visitor-friendly. It’s an important lesson for a huge proportion of websites. In Britain, over 95% of the Government websites seem to have failed that test and have now been buried. One would question whether private websites really perform any better.

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