Don’t mess with convention

You can play around with a lot of things on your website, but don’t mess with convention. There are several things which people just expect on an everyday website, even if these things don’t always seem essential. Examples include a logo at the top (usually on the left) which can be clicked to get back to the site’s home page. The search box usually lives top right, even if it might make sense grouped with the site navigation. And the “About Us” page, even if it’s a lot more than just about you, really ought to be labelled “About Us”.

There are dozens of other conventions (this respected set comes from 2001 and nearly all of the suggestions still apply), and of course most sites will break a few rules. But don’t set out to break them just to be clever. Your visitors will get irritated and won’t thank you for it.

1 thought on “Don’t mess with convention”

  1. This is a good post Chris and I totally agree with your view on conventions. Often we think that our visitors have evolved and they can easily understand the improvisations but it is usually not the case. I would like to share an experience here. On one of our websites, instead of mentioning Contact/Contact Us, we named the tab with our phone number i.e. instead of calling it Contact, we named the tab as +1-xxx-xxx-xx. We thought it would be a nice idea to enable users directly call us and our number too will get registered in their minds. However, we soon discovered that our queries fell down drastically.

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