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5:8 Announce Changes to a Web Site

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 2 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Page Structure - Homepage


Guideline:

Announce major changes to a Web site on the homepage - do not surprise users.


Comments:

Introducing users to a redesigned Web site can require some preparation of expectations. Users may not know what to do when they are suddenly confronted with a new look or navigation structure. Therefore, you should communicate any planned changes to users ahead of time. Following completion of changes, tell users exactly what has changed and when the changes were made. Assure users that all previously available information will continue to be on the site.

It may also be helpful to users if you inform them of site changes at other relevant places on the Web site. For example, if shipping policies have changed, a notification of such on the order page should be provided.


Sources:

  • Levine, R. (1996). Guide to Web Style. Sun Microsystems.
  • Nall, J., Koyani, S.J., & Lafond, C. (2001, January). Lessons learned while usability testing the CancerNet Web site. National Cancer Institute, Communication Technologies Branch Technical Report.

Good Example:

Creating Web pages that introduce a new look or changes in the navigation structure is one way of re-orienting users after a site redesign.

05_08_good_example1

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