My dearest friend is a web designer. She’s a rather good one too. She works freelance for a company specializing in building websites for real estate companies.

Last night she asked me which site I preferred, Google maps or Yahoo! maps.

“Yahoo has maps??” I asked her in my Yahoo! Instant Messenger window.

“Yes? You didn’t know this?” She replied in kind.

“Evidently not.”

To me, this means a couple of things. One, I’m not as observant as I thought I was. Two, I’m obviously fond of the Google brand kool-aid. And three, Yahoo! has maps!

It’s evidently a very popular map service, too. She showed me a bunch of different ways people have created add-on’s for the Yahoo! map software to make interesting maps for websites. (An apartment building website has a map showing where all the best take-out restaurants in the neighborhood are! That’s brilliant! Sign me up.)

I guess I should have known they had maps, I mean, I am on the Yahoo! front page all the time, Now that I know it’s there I can pick MAPS out of the alphabetical list on the sidebar.

So why couldn’t I remember ever seeing they had maps offered on their website?

Usability on a website is key. Be careful you don’t go overboard. Don’t offer so many products and services that they start to get lost in the jumble. Flashing buttons, pointing arrows, vibrant colors. Sometimes they’re just distracting your customer from what’s important…buying your stuff.

So the fortune cookie for this lesson is this: Remember that often the forest is lost because of all those darn trees.

Simplify.

 

‘Chelle Parmele
Social Media Marketing Manager
Palo Alto Software

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