Marketing Student Views

Perspectives by GMU Internet Marketing Students

Web Usability

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Blogger: Samir Amroun

There are approximately 739,032,236 websites. According to Jakob Nielsen, a PhD in Interactions Humans/Resources, internet users tend to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit.

As Marketers we should be asking ourselves several questions:

  1. Why would anyone care about what’s on our website?
  2. If he cares why would he spend his time on our website?
  3. How can we facilitate the customer’s access with the desired information?


Since the users only read a few words on an average visit, it’s only common sense to say that we should keep the content as concise as possible. Jakob Nielsen’s study claims “that a 58% increase in usability can be achieved simply by cutting roughly half the words on the webpages being studied.”

What do we cut? How do we provide our information?


Simon Sinek provides some good insight. Every company on Earth is able to explain what they are doing or how they are doing it. But only a very few companies are able to explain WHY they are doing business. According to Simon Sinek this makes all the difference. To him, succesful companies follow the Golden Circle: rules and start their communication by why to end up explaining what they do.

The reason is that people might doubt and argue about the “how” and “what” you’re doing. But it will be harder for them to question your motive if you express it well. It’s also easier for them to make your motives their own.

A concrete example is worth a 1000 words, so I’ll now focus on one of the many website trends, and you’ll see there how a good company works to market its company and its project.


To illustrate the previous article, here’s Project Loon. It’s project that goes straight to the point with a small video explaining why Google is going for this project and then explains very briefly “what” and “how” they will do it.

WHAT: The content is clear and goes straight to the point. It is then followed by more information about the project.

“What is Project Loon?

May of us think of the Internet as a global community. But two-thirds of the worlds population does not yet have Internet access. Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.” 

HOW: Jacob Nielsen’s study conclude that “users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to ‘jazz up’ web pages.”

For this reason a lot of new design trends rely on the extensive use of visuals such as drawing, pictures and video.

Let’s look at the “how” part of Google’s Project Loon. They don’t overwhelm the user with too much information. They explain briefly and also use very good visuals to give a clear idea of what the text is talking about.

“The Technology

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth.

Learn More.

Then they include a hyperlink to “learn more” if the user wants more information.  Going into detail is important, but not more important than leaving the choice. Some users only want a general idea while some others would want to go more in depth.

Let’s summarize: To gather people around your website, you should emphasize the WHY. You can get them to believe in what you believe and have them lock on. In addition:

  • Keep content as concise as possible
  • Use heading to break up long articles
  • Make hyperlinked text user-friendly
  • Use visuals strategically
  • Use bulleted lists, text formatting, and sufficient spacing

One thought on “Web Usability

  1. First off, great job presenting in class–I really liked the example you presented to us! I like the three questions mentioned in the post, they are all great questions to ask when it comes to web usability! Great job and thanks for sharing!


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