The multi-part Pepper guide to creating simple and elegant web pages that people will visit

Most of the things we use daily are pretty simple. They’re so simple, in fact, that we barely give them a second thought. Take, for example, markers. We use them, as their name suggests, to mark things. Touch a surface with the tip, and leave a mark.

Most of the websites we visit often are simple too. Google is probably the best example of this. Just type in what you’re looking for, and get a bunch of pages that match your search terms. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, and that’s a big part of the reason Google has grown as large as it is today.

This simplicity, when it comes to web pages, goes by the name web usability. According to Wikipedia, you can define web usability this way:

“Web Usability is an approach to make web sites easy to use for an end-user, without requiring her (or him) to undergo any specialized training. The user should be able to intuitively relate the actions he needs to perform on the web page, with other interactions he sees in the general domain of life e.g. press of a button leads to some action.”

That’s a mouthful, we know, so we don’t really try to remember this definition. Instead, we think of web usability in the simplest terms possible. We think of it as simplicity.

A simple (and therefore ultimately usable) website, we believe, is one that anybody and everybody can navigate. It is a site that answers questions, sometimes even before they’re asked. A simple website is one that, and we’re borrowing one of Steve Krug’s thoughts here, doesn’t force people to think.

Ironically, achieving simplicity in your website isn’t quite so simple. It took Edison over 10,000 tries to produce a working light bulb, arguably one of the simplest appliances we encounter daily. We hope it doesn’t take you that many tries to get a usable website up and running, and that’s part of the reason why we’d like to share a few web usability, we mean, simplicity tips for you.

This the just the first post in Pepper’s Web Usability series. You can check out the rest of the series by following the links right below. Before you click away, we’d like to ask you: what are some of the sites you visit most often? Have a handful in mind? Now think of this: what do they have in common? If you’d like to share what you have in mind now (and we hope you do), leave us a comment below. You can also sign up for our free trial.

  1. Keep it simple: the basic philosophy for web usability
  2. Don’t be a snob: make sure that everybody can access your site
  3. Identify yourself: don’t make it hard to figure out who’s behind your site
  4. Show me around: make it easy to navigate your site
  5. Say it, and say it well: make sure you get your message across

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