most important part of your website

This can be your team’s site or a website in general. I am wondering what everyone puts first and why.

I am motivated to visit a website not because it looks pretty and i want to admire its beauty but because it has some content that i desire to view. I find that some of the most useful websites have downright ugly layouts but that can be overlooked because of their content.

I am of the Vincent Flanders mentality. No Flash, splash, shiny things, long load times, bleeding edge tech, ridicolous screen size requirements, no plug-ins, etc. Everything dhould be functional and have content. Flanders is website is and is full of good ideas. Plus, it loads like Dave Lavery after a Krispy Kreme. (or so I hear)

I think as far as having a sucessful website goes, content/functionality is the most important thing. For example, take Myspace. If you have never been to Myspace, take my word for it, it has none of the attributes on that list besides content/features. It is gaudy, always crashing, and I don’t think the creator of it has ever heard of “menu structure”. However, it does have a feature many people, especially teens, are looking for: a way to network. From the millions of hits it gets each day, it is obvious people are able to overlook Myspaces’ other flaws for the features it provides.

In short, a website is only as good as it’s content. It can be organized as prettily as you like, but unless it says something/does something people like, they will leave it. And I could list a thousand more examples of badly designed, buggy websites that are extremely popular, because of their content.

These are some good ideas, but I disagree with almost everyone. First of all, I meant from the aspect of your own website, not looking at others.

I believe that the most important part of a good website is user feedback. I learned from leading my web site team that I can come up with the best design ever, but no one else likes it. I think the users, not the creators, have to critique the site and give feedback. My website team considers all feedback and puts an emphasis on considering all feedback, even if it is negative or if it is a crazy idea.

If I could pick a second choice, it would be traffic and popularity. You can design a website that has potential to be good, but you need people to use it to be good. Myspace is a good site (useful, not functional) mainly because just about everyone has it. Google Talk is not a good program because no one ever uses it. So I think traffic or popularity would be second most important.

When building a website you need to look at every aspect not just the user feedback or the navigation. Every element of the site should be equally important and should be completed with the highest quality to create a well-rounded site. Striving to create the best in appearance, accessibility, functionally, and content will make a website stand out to all users and provide them with the information that they are seeking. On Our Team the “most important part of *our * website” is the website, all aspects included, to create the best that we possibly can.


that poll is not kewl
first you need the website up and functioning before you can do anything else
no matter what is said

I’d disagree–there is much for a webmaster to do before they get the site up and functioning.

When I worked on launching, I didn’t just register the domain name and start typing.

Instead, I figured out what we’d need (information on committees, news, the forum, et cetera). Then I sketched it out in my head and in Notepad, to make sure it all worked on paper. Once that was done, I started drafting out pages for each of the sections before giving everything the run-through. Around this time we finally made the decision to buy the domain name and hosting, and the site went up.

These days, the Under Construction graphics don’t cut it. You’ve got to have something of value to put on your site once it launches.

The most important part of a website is content, followed very closely by ease of navigation, graphics/layout, and the ability for people to quickly find what they are looking for. Maybe it is just me, but the way something looks or is presented is just as important as the actual content itself. Neither content nor graphics should be sacrificed to the other, as both are very important.

But having nice content with fancy graphics is cool, but if you cannot quickly find what you are looking for, people will lose interst. If it takes more than three clicks for a user to get to any page from the homepage, then you need to simplify things. Havign a search bar also helps users a lot. If they want information about something very specific, they are not going to browse your website looking for the page - they will want to simply search for it.

Also, having your website easily cached by Google, or other search engines is a major bonus. Having your website easily cached by Google or in the Internet Archive is a major help if your server is down or you get the dreaded Error 404 while looking for a page.

EDIT: I almost forgot up to date content! I cannot stress enough how much users to a website are discouraged if the homepage of a website is talking about how your team did at a regional three years ago. Having current information shows the public (at least subscionsciously) that your website is making an effort to provide the most current and useful information, which is usually what they are looking for.

Content is really the most important thing, but it sort of isn’t fair to the other elements to have it in a poll. Clearly, if your website loads fast, looks good, and uses universal HTML, but has no content it’s useless. Unfortunatly I’ve noticed that a lot of robotics sites tend to take forever to load, and/or need plugins to work. Our current beta design’s barebones (navigation, structure, no content) total at 23K and are useable in anything from Netscape/IE 2 1024x768 on up. This reflects my opinions on web design, although it won’t win any design awards, it is as useable as websites come. My favorite web design rule of thumb is , as Mr. Flanders says, if doesn’t use it then why would you?

These are all great ideas and reasons, but I think this is like asking people “coke or pepsi?”; everyone will say something different and have good supporting reasons. The purpose of me asking this was not to see what the most popular answer is, but to simply make sure that website teams are paying attention to the fact that there are many aspects to a good website. Whether your website team stresses good graphics, updated content, logical navigation, whatever, a good website depends on who you ask. I have noticed that some teams’ sites do not focus on all aspects of web design so maybe this thread and poll will help some teams.

I say navigation. You can have the best content in the world, but if people cannot figure out how to get to it, they will never come back. There have been sites I stopped using because it was just too much of a hassle to get around - I found a replacement and never looked back.

I guess I’m the only one who thinks the target audience is the most important part of a website. While content IS important, you have to know who your audience is and what they want from your site. That should be the first thing you figure out when you start a site. You need to make your content targeted to the specific people you want to be at the site. I think that before you start a site, you should create a specific and simple objective for your site, and if it doesn’t accomplish that objective, you’ve missed the mark.

I know a lot of teams like to do the whole ‘complete FIRST package’ website with a blog, forum, guestbook… all that stuff… but how much of it is actually used and read? I think it would be nice to see teams take a more professional approach towards their sites and try to sell their team like pitching a company to investors or consumers.

IMO, targeting > content > navigation (we’ll throw accessibility in there), > feedback/functionality (I’ve noticed that these two are pretty much tied together) > traffic > maintenance (as long as it’s not broken) > graphics.

You can have everything else besides targeting the right audience and have your entire site flop. I’ve seen it happen.

I agree that the target audience is important, but is that really part of your website? No. Not unless you build a website that reads itself. (In other words I would consider your “audience” to be the content you’re showing them.) Or do you mean your advertising of the website? Which I would consider with traffic, not content.

I agree that content is very important. I voted Navigation, however. Though I think content would be a very close second. Graphics/Multimedia would be last - especially flash! I hate flash! :ahh: :slight_smile:

Our important feature on our website is how we honor a mentor and a student each month for their contributions to our team. We have a mentor/student of the month. :smiley: