Introduction to Website Design for Publishers and Authors

Usability and design are two key factors in publishing great websites.

Look at your website!

  • Is the interface intuitive and uncomplicated?
  • Is site navigation simple and quick?
  • Do site variations target specific audiences?
  • Are online tasks easy to understand?
  • Are responses or orders easy to facilitate?

You may have a clear strategy and great content, but if your site is unusable and unattractive, it will be difficult for users to find what they’re looking for, difficult for you to get users to do what you want them to do and difficult to get users to become loyal customers and revisit again and again.

In the not-too-distant past, publishers were content with creating a single corporate website that integrated all of their various business units, products, content, commerce activity, advertising… everything. For many publishers, that’s still true today. A single-site strategy, however, results in a kind of uber-site (particularly for multi-title publishers) that is incredibly complicated in terms of content management and too complex and confusing for the average user to navigate easily.

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After reviewing hundreds of websites, interviewing dozens of media organizations and conducting a series of expert usability reviews and actual user tests, we developed 14 website design guidelines—best practices for creating user-friendly websites—and a Mequoda Website Scorecard that you can use to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your own site.

Over the next 14 weeks, we will share with you each of the 14 website design guidelines. At the end of the 14 weeks, we hope that you will take each guideline to task on your own website to determine where your site could be improved.

As Mequoda Daily Contributing Editor Roger C. Parker likes to say, “The goal is not to get As in some guidelines and Cs or Fs in others. The goal is to get As across the board.”

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