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A great way of thinking about your website and make it useful

Many people think that having a website is merely about putting up the information and the job is done. Wrong.

Having good information means it is available, findable and usable.

The first is easy - stick it up!
The second takes thought - navigation, will the info be found by searches (real searches by real people) ...
The third is usually in the too had basket

Rachel of the Contented blog (a 'must read/subscribe to' if you ever write for online readers) has a cracking posting about how websites should be like buildings and not books - in this case the still being built Wellington Hospital. For me Rachel sums up what a good website should do by comparing her actual experience on entering the still slightly chaotic site:

“Can I help?” his manner said. I don’t think he even uttered the words.

“I need to find Ward 17,” said I.

“That’s in the Grace Neill block,” said NYM, and led me to the building, the lobby, the lift, the board that said Ward 17 was on Floor M.


He did not say Welcome to Wellington Hospital. He did not spout a random range of services offered. He did not urge me to come and live in wonderful Wellington. He did not tell me how many hospitals were run by the Capital and Coast District Health Board. He did not tell me to how put one foot in front of the other or press the elevator button. Just like a good search engine, he took me straight to the ward I needed.

Do you even know if your website is as useful?
Have you ever bothered to find out or do you assume that because the information is "available" your job is done?