Tweet21 Share20 Pin4 Share3 +111Total Shares 59In the “Build A Better Website” series, we’ll dissect a website page by page and put it back together with purpose and great content so that each page of your site can build trust, earn credibility and drive revenue for your business.
Let me ask you something: how long has it been since you gave any thought to your Contact page? What if I told you that the only thing standing between you and a new customer is your Contact page?
The poor ol’ Contact page is usually the last thing on our minds when we update our websites. Nobody wants to fill out a million form fields, so consider how easy or hard it is for someone to actually complete your form. As you build a contact form (or scrutinize the one you have) I want you to think hard about each and every field you put there. Unless you have a good reason to ask for more, then asking for a name, email address, possibly a phone number and “whaddya want”?
First, make sure that required fields are actually required and that the average person cannot circumvent a required field and submit the form without it. Even if it is difficult, I advise contacting your developer for help because a useless form is… well, useless. The second piece of validation is not only requiring an entry but requiring a specific format.
For starters, make the font on the field labels large enough and align them properly with the fields.
If your form must necessarily be long then break it up like all good content with bold subheadings so it’s less intimidating and easier for someone to track their progress as they complete it. Before you panic, let me ask you a question: when someone gets to your Contact page, would you rather have them contact you or become a Facebook fan? Instead of assuming that someone who visits your Contact page wants to fill out a form, let them choose how they want to reach out to you. Unlike other distractions that can confuse people, multiple avenues of contact will only help people.
Remember, if you can get someone as far as your Contact page, you want to be sure the deck is stacked in your favor so contacting you is exactly what someone will do. Carol Lynn Rivera Carol Lynn is a content creator and marketer who has been in the business of digital marketing since 1999.
On any given day Carol Lynn will wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer.
But I know people use it because I get a lot of questions through people accessing my contact page. I know I have this issue with not considering what other people are wanting to know, I just think what I want to know or how I view things.
Thanks for your input, Adrienne, and I think that depending on the purpose of the contact page it can have more or less information. And thanks for the compliment, I like this new optin plugin, it gives you a ton of options for customizing it so I am probably going to be playing with it a lot. Like Adrienne, I do not have a thank you page and I’d have to test my own contact form to see what people see after they clicked on the submit button. This post is a good reminder for me to check all the lose ends that still exist on my blogs. As for spam protection, I advise people to avoid using things like captchas because they are very annoying to people.
You can certainly put your contact info on other pages, like your About page, but I would also suggest putting them on the contact page because that’s where people go and expect to find that info. Once you have created your site in outline form, analyze its ability to support browsing by testing it interactively, both within the site development team and with small groups of real users. Web sites with too shallow an information hierarchy depend on massive menu pages that can degenerate into a confusing laundry list of unrelated information. If your web site is actively growing, the proper balance of menus and content pages is a moving target. If your site has more than a few dozen pages, your users will expect web search options to find content in the site. No browse interface of links can assure the user that he or she has found all instances of a given keyword or search phrase. Search is the most efficient means to reach specific content, particularly if that content is not heavily visited by other users and is therefore unlikely to appear as a link in a major navigation page.
Web sites are built around basic structural themes that both form and reinforce a user’s mental model of how you have organized your content. More complex web sites may still be organized as a logical sequence, but each page in the sequence may have links to one or more pages of digressions, parenthetical information, or information on other web sites (fig. The simplest form of hierarchical site structure is a star, or hub-and-spoke, set of pages arrayed off a central home page. Note that although hierarchical sites organize their content and pages in a tree of site menus and submenus off the home page, this hierarchy of content subdivisions should not become a navigational straitjacket for the user who wants to jump from one area of the site to another.
The nonlinear usage patterns typical of web users do not absolve you of the need to organize your thinking and present it within a clear, consistent structure that complements your overall design goals.
We thrive in the complex world of creative and technology applications, using our expertise to develop efficiencies, lower costs and create new velocity within our client organizations.

Our considerable technology capabilities allow Webhomes to recommend the right technologies to provide the most value to our customers. The convergence and crossover of screens [2013 saw more people accessing information from their mobile device than their computer] - allows us to identify, examine and qualify current technologies, best practices, information architectures, and digital platforms. And when you did think about it, did you give it any more thought than simply creating a form with a few fields and a ‘submit’ button?
Are you asking someone to check off 15 options, answer 9 questions and complete an entire dossier before they can get in touch with you? That may visually tell a person it’s required but you need some programming magic to make sure it actually is.
They should have a border or a background color (or both) to distinguish them from the rest of the page. No need to showcase your artwork, fabulous graphics, amazing photos or anything else on this page. Providing your phone, fax, direct email if you choose or mailing address will give people the option to select their favorite method of communication. Her true passion is writing, whether it’s web content, a blog post, email campaign or social status update. People contacting a blogger for example, would most likely only need a basic form, because as you said, they are going there to ask a question or give some input. Things break for no good reason (that we can see, anyway) and the last thing we want to do is lose the opportunity to connect with someone. I have been thinking out some enhancements that I plan to roll out into my site over the next couple of months. I’ve found this is really great and informative post to recommend my readers via my contact form creation post too Thank you very much for the information dear. So now I make sure that I’m asking for right amount of information (Hope so) and users can assure the contact reason would be valid before contacting. I think that people tend to forget about the contact page because it’s so common and they just put up a form and forget about it.
They use these models to assess relations among topics and to guess where to find things they haven’t seen before. Efficient web site design is largely a matter of balancing the relation of major menu or home pages with individual content pages.
Too deep a structure (right) and users get frustrated as they dig down through many layers of menus. Feedback from users (and analyzing your own use of the site) can help you decide if your menu scheme has outlived its usefulness or has weak areas. In a larger site, with maybe hundreds or thousands of pages of content, web search is the only efficient means to locate particular content pages or to find all pages that mention a keyword or search phrase. As the user’s needs get more specific than a browser interface can handle, search engines are the means to find content out there in the long tail where it might otherwise remain undiscovered (fig.
These fundamental architectures govern the navigational interface of the web site and mold the user’s mental models of how the information is organized.
Programming logic can offer customized content for particular audiences and allow digressions from the main sequence of pages (bottom diagram). Because web sites are usually organized around a single home page, which then links to subtopic menu pages, hierarchical architectures are particularly suited to web site organization.
This arrangement of major categories and subcategories has a powerful advantage for complex site organization in that most people are familiar with hierarchical organizations, and can readily form mental models of the site structure (fig. Most content works well in hierarchical structures, and users find them easy to understand. Most site navigation interfaces provide global navigation links that allow users to jump from one major site area to another without being forced to back up to a central home page or submenu. In this structure the goal is often to mimic associative thought and the free flow of ideas, allowing users to follow their interests in a unique, heuristic, idiosyncratic pattern. Site hierarchy is created largely with standard navigational links within the site, but topical links embedded within the content create a weblike mesh of associative links that transcends the usual navigation and site structure. A clear information structure allows the user to move freely and confidently through your site.
Figure 3.9 summarizes the three basic organization patterns against the linearity of the narrative and the complexity of the content. There is a significant advantage in developing business strategies knowing technical, IT and systems capabilities in the planning stage. By applying a technology agnostic, creative tactical purpose we can deliver almost any idea from concept to working prototype, to functional solution.We were the one of first of the new agencies, to combine the time-proven crafts of MBA business strategies and analytics, with Madison Avenue advertising, evolving new web technologies, and the applications of the internet, cloud-based network systems and todaya€™s digital data worlds. Multiple platforms, great content delivery, and new web 3.0 technologies are critical today to create effective customer connection strategies. This helps us to advise our clients the most appropriate development path for a truly seamless, integrated system providing excellent user experience a€“ and the ability to connect with and create a customer relationship of on-going, perceived value.
You may want to know half a dozen things about someone but that doesn’t mean you need to know.
Just a beautifully laid out stack of wonderful fields so that a person can focus on contacting you.
The same way you update, rethink and retool the rest of your site, you should do the same with your Contact page, especially if you’ve ever received negative feedback about it.

On the other hand, a business needs to make sure they capture that lead so they can begin a sales process. But if you pay attention to just a few little nuances you can avoid scaring people away or putting them off. It just makes it easy for people to get in touch with you and at the end of the day, that’s what we all want. Users try to imagine the site structure as well, and a successful information architecture will help the user build a firm and predictable mental model of your site.
The goal is to build a hierarchy of menus and content pages that feels natural to users and doesn’t mislead them or interfere with their use of the site. Having to navigate through layers of nested menus before reaching real content is frustrating (fig.
Complex document structures require deeper menu hierarchies, but users should never be forced into page after page of menus if direct access is possible.
Browse interfaces composed of major site and content landmarks are essential in the initial phases of a user’s visit to your site. Heavily used pages are likely to appear on browsing menus pages, but obscure pages deep within the site will only be found and read through web search technologies. Three essential structures can be used to build a web site: sequences, hierarchies, and webs. Sequential ordering may be chronological, a logical series of topics progressing from the general to the specific, or alphabetical, as in indexes, encyclopedias, and glossaries. Hierarchical diagrams are very familiar in corporate and institutional life, so most users find this structure easy to understand. Navigation tends to be a simple list of subpages, plus a link for the home page (fig 3.5a). In figure 3.6, tabs in the header allow the user to move from one major content area to another, the left navigation menu provides local topic categories, and a search box allows the user to jump out of categorical navigation and find pages based on a web search engine. This organizational pattern develops with dense links both to information elsewhere in the site and to information at other sites.
Except in sites that rigorously enforce a sequence of pages, users are likely to traverse your site in a free-form weblike manner, jumping across regions in the information architecture, just as they would skip through chapters in a reference book.
If you use a service like Wufoo or a WordPress plugin like Gravity Forms then  setting a required field is as easy as clicking a checkbox.
You certainly don’t want your only chance to contact someone to be thwarted by a typo. It can give you a chance to throw in a little video that adds a bit of personality and makes you more memorable. Once in a while give it a test and see how much you like filling it out (this will also give you a way to be sure it’s actually working).
It doesn’t have to be a work of art but it does have to be neat and usable and of course it has to work.
A logical, consistently named site organization allows users to make successful predictions about where to find things.
With a well-balanced, functional hierarchy you can offer users menus that provide quick access to information and reflect the organization of your site. Straight sequences are the most appropriate organization for training or education sites, for example, in which the user is expected to progress through a fixed set of material and the only links are those that support the linear navigation path (fig 3.4, top).
A hierarchical organization also imposes a useful discipline on your own analytical approach to your content, because hierarchies are practical only with well-organized material. Although the goal of this organization is to exploit the web’s power of linkage and association to the fullest, weblike structures can just as easily propagate confusion.
Ironically, the clearer and more concrete your site organization is, the easier it is for users to jump freely from place to place without feeling lost (fig. But they do, so make your Contact page the place they can get all your contact information. If it’s a guest posting, advertising or whatever opportunity, I think asking for relevant information is really matters from users.
Consistent methods of organizing and displaying information permit users to extend their knowledge from familiar pages to unfamiliar ones. Ironically, associative organizational schemes are often the most impractical structure for web sites because they are so hard for the user to understand and predict. A form gives (most) people what they want and makes it super easy for you to receive, track and log communications. Even if you don’t change anything, websites are fickle and things stop working from one day to the next for no obvious reason. If you mislead users with a structure that is neither logical nor predictable, or constantly uses different or ambiguous terms to describe site features, users will be frustrated by the difficulties of getting around and understanding what you have to offer.
Webs work best for small sites dominated by lists of links and for sites aimed at highly educated or experienced users looking for further education or enrichment and not for a basic understanding of a topic (fig.

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