Metaphorically speaking, the web is often referred to as a vehicle. A blog by Chora, an educational consulting firm, says it is “emerging as the major communication, education, and entertainment vehicle of our time.” It is easy to see this analogy, as the Internet serves two key functions:
- It delivers content.
- It transports users.
For example, my 3G connection (as antiquated as it may be) brings me news headlines and takes me to a place where I’m running through a temple, chased by ravenous “bird monkeys.” And, that’s all before I leave home for the office.
Looking deeper reveals that the comparison of the web to a vehicle is not a good analogy. It’s a great one. Consider the emphasis placed on aesthetic appeal. From candy apple red Porsches to sleek black Landrovers, people are drawn to how their cars look. The goal is for them to be clean, shiny, and down-right cool. By the same token, websites should have clean lines, slick layouts, and appealing colors.
Yet, when it comes to vehicles, it isn’t enough to have a pristine paint job and shiny tires. These aesthetic elements only go so far (literally) without the proper controls. It’s also essential to be able to steer the car, change gears, and accelerate. The same is true on the web. The best-looking site is obsolete if users are unable to navigate.
When it comes to crafting the usability experience, consider the users who are most likely to visit your site. What is their comfort level with Internet functionality? Have they demonstrated navigation preferences in the past? Are you putting someone behind the wheel of a Manual transmission when they’re only comfortable with an automatic?
Aesthetics and usability are commonly regarded as the necessary components of creating a well-rounded website. But, it doesn’t stop there. In our competitive digital age, websites must inspire and influence. They must create emotion. We’re talking the kind of emotion that overcomes people when they’re given a new car in a Christmas commercial.
At Off Forty, we want to help you create a website that dazzles on the showroom floor, has the right mechanics under the hood, and makes a difference in the lives of your consumers.