What you should be looking for in terms of a graphical interface is something reflective of your company's brand image and marketing campaigns, and, above all else, intuitive and easy to use.
"It should be easy for them to accomplish what they're trying to do," explains Sterne. If this sentiment seems gee-whiz self-evident, think back on some of your recent Web experiences.
"Are you trying to sell stuff? Well, it should be as easy as possible to buy stuff. It should be as easy as possible for people to discover, compare, contrast, try, configure, join, subscribe … whatever the action word is, the focus should constantly be on ease of use … and it seldom is," Sterne says.
There are several ways to go about discovering whether or not your customers are having an easy time navigating your site.
First off, you can ask them:
> Conduct a usability study wherein you set people down in front of computers with your site and then ask questions about the experience.
> Another option is to employ a pop-up survey that asks, between pages, why certain choices were made and what is expected of the next page.
Or, says Sterne, you can just watch them:
> Sites can offer discounts to customers who let companies track their keystrokes to "see all the times I hit the 'back' button or all the times I didn't fill out the form completely."
> Other sites simply analyze server logs to see what paths customers take through the site, where bottlenecks occur and where they exit.
Make It Personal
The great thing about the Web is that it can be hardwired to your database. From there, you can do all sorts of personalizing based on what you know about your customers. But because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should.