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© 2008 Ugur Akinci
Sometimes web designers get caught up in the illusion that they are building just a tiny little “local” web site, or that their employer is such a “well known” entity that “everybody” knows what their acronym stands for.
No matter how “local” your business is, if it’s a public site, remember this: it takes the same amount of clicks (“one”) to reach it from Mongolia as from Michigan.
So design it as though your visitor would be a total stranger. Otherwise you can frustrate even your local visitors.
I forgot the number of local newspaper or TV station sites which do not even bother to mention the STATE in which they are located!
Many times in the past I read a story I liked in a local publication. I then wanted to give full reference to the story but all I’d see on the page would be “Springfield Herald” or “Rockville News”, etc.
WHICH Springfield or WHICH Rockville?
If you spend a few minutes clicking on 3, 4 or 5 pages in a row, you eventually find the state but you end up asking yourself “why?”
Why does a local publication be so oblivious to the fact that people NOT from your neck of the woods might be visiting your site as well?
Why alienate them since you never know who will click and honor your advertisers?
Again, the issue of acronyms... Some large organizations get so complacent that they simply forget to write the open form of their well-known acronyms.
AARP is a case in point.
I challenge you to visit www.aarp.org and find out what “AARP” exactly means.
If you find it let me know and I’d be happy to note it down. But if you can’t, don’t feel too bad because I’ve already spent 15 minutes to find it with no success.
I’m of course 100% sure that AARP stands for “American Association of Retired People” due to the power of the AARP brand but why turn it into a mystery game and a puzzle who may not know it?
Why frustrate the visitors who might not be too familiar with your acronym?
GOLDEN RULE: help your visitors easily find the MOST OBVIOUS INFORMATION about your company or organization like your full address, or the full name of your organization.
Frustrated visitors do not make profitable customers or members. They do not come back either.