I am a web guy in the real world, have been for nearly 18 years. I am also a Certified Usability Analyst, and as I was researching schools I was adding to my schools pages, I took some usability notes for you website and Facebook admins. Take it for what its worth, just thought I would mention a few things.
NOTE: I needed a geek image for this post. If you get it, you probably don’t need any help ;)
- Personalized Facebook URLS – a lot of you have those really long FB page names with numbers and such in the url which means trying to tell someone your page, and them trying to remember it, is much harder than it has to be. All the pages I saw today are eligible for a shorter, easier to remember personalized url. Here is a note I wrote on the subject which may help you with the steps: Getting a Personalized Facebook Name/URL
- Make Sure You Are Using a Facebook Community/Business Page – some of the school pages I went to were not pages, they were personal account pages setup for the school. For example, a person has a personal page, but it cannot be LIKED. A page has the LIKE option. Makes it a lot easier to follow if it is a page.
- Don’t Use a Location FB Page – I am not even sure how to get one of these, but a few FB pages I visited were, what I would call, a location page. There was a LIKE option, but no news feed. Might be determined by how you categorize your business, but I don’t think it is as useful as a regular community page.
- Make your location obvious – hard to believe how hard it is to find an address on some of these sites. Most have a contact page, but a lot just have a form there. Have an address and method of contact other than the form. Some people just DO NOT like filling in forms, trust me.
- Make your social media links obvious – Social media is FREE advertising, so make it easy for someone to find and share your links.
- If you really need to play music on your site, have an off button – Music playing on a site is personal preference, but in my experience, it is a distraction to most people, so if you feel you need to have it, please also add a way to mute it. I went to one today with no option like that and I quickly left the page. Music, flash, animation, etc…. is something a user should be able to control or it may drive them away.
- Your website is a reflection of your business, so put some effort into it – I have seen some beautifully done sites and I have seen some that look like they were done in the EARLY 90s. Please don’t get me wrong, I have been doing web design for nearly 18 years, and I am proud that you want to tackle your site yourself, and I understand that you are proud of the site you create, but realize your creativity may be better spent teaching dance. This is not for all ‘home-grown’ sites, but enough so that I thought I should mention it. Ask for volunteers from the parents at your school to help, I am sure there are some web saavy people in your group.
- Get an email from your domain name – Another credibility thing to me. If you have greatdanceschool.com and your email is firstname.lastname@example.org, it makes it harder for someone to remember how to get in touch with you, not to mention the fact that aol is how my grandmother does email ;)
This is a work in progress, and I will add to it as I see other take-aways. If you have any that you think might help others, let me know and I will be sure to include them. If you would like me to help in some way, or professionally, contact me and lets chat about it ;)