There’s more to design than meets the eye
Consumed => “You Design It, They Do It” by Paul Scrivens on Smashing Magazine.
=> My value add (i.e.,, left a comment)…
Points about design aside for a moment. If asked, ““I’ve designed this great website, but people don’t stay on it. Why?” I would start with: who’s coming to the site, from where, what are the top search keywords pulling in traffic, etc. It’s certainly possible the marketing is off target. Perhaps the churn is due to misguided marketing and not necessarily because there’s something wrong with the site (relative to the optimal target market that’s likely to return, convert, etc.).
I’d also like to add that I disagree (strongly?) with Jayme Squire’s comment. The primary purpose of a website is to meet the expectations of and satisfy the wants / needs of those who visit it. Repeat that mission ten times and then perhaps once that’s done, focus on “no dead ends”.
My point is, people have to leave a site sooner or later. There will be, no matter what you do, an exit page. I think if you asked analytics ninja Avinash Kaushik he’d tell you obsessing over exit pages is a fool’s game. If you make them stay longer but don’t meet their expectations and satisfy the wants / needs then you’re creating what could be a very ugly situation. No one is going to be happy about, “Yeah, I was on Site X for 10 minutes and finally got done what I needed to get done. I’ll never use the site again.” If the expectation is in and out in 10 or less clicks and you’re at 20+ clicks then you’re in trouble. If you can’t provide immediate sense a value for them to return in the expect 10 clicks then all the lack of dead ends in the world isn’t going to save you. In other words, focusing no dead ends could very well be a deadest of dead end.
But perhaps I misunderstood the scope and intention of Jayme’s comment? Oops? Sorry?