Gadgets Magazine

World of Wonderful Websites

Posted on the 10 January 2014 by Jyoti Arora @Jy0tiAr0ra
Collage created using images from openclipart . org


The stories that I loved in childhood were often populated by fairies and witches. And as different as the fairies and witches were from one another, they all had one thing in common. And that was a sphere, or a mirror, a book, or some other magical thing which showed them whatever of the world they wanted to see. It answered their questions, it satisfied their doubts, and it even suggested means and ways to get out of a problem (or to create problems for others, in case of witches.)

Today, that fantasy has come true for us humans too. And without the aid of any magic. Today, we have in our hands the power of World Wide Web that is not magic, but is still capable of bringing all the knowledge and information of the world to us in a moment. Not only that, it can even connect us to people far away. It answers our questions, guides us, helps us get products and services quicker and brings our friends closer to us. That’s even a greater magic, I think, than the magical spheres and mirrors of ancient fantasies.

And when we consider the rapid expansion of the World Wide Web, it seems nothing short of miraculous. It now hosts an estimated 1 billion websites! And this number is estimated to double up in just two more years.

But amid the crowd of these billion websites, some rise over others and win dedicated and loyal visitors. While many just remain neglected, or are deliberately avoided by users. If I consider my own choices, there are several that I love. While there are many others that I only visited once, and avoided thereafter.

So what makes a website GOOD for me, as a user?

1. VISUAL APPEAL: What causes ‘Love at first sight?’ There can be only one answer to that. It’s the person’s good looks and charm. Same goes with the websites. The first impressions are vital for the success of anything. And for good first impression, good looks, and neatness is vital. A website that looks good and neat is definitely more appealing to me than a shoddy one. A good looking website also gives an assurance that it has been designed with care. And that at once makes it appear more trustworthy. A scattered, disorderly and garishly coloured website can be a major turnoff for website visitors.

2. CONTENT: In his famous work ‘ The Rape of the Lock’ Alexander Pope wrote, “Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.” And this holds true not just for a person’s beauty, but for everything else too, I suppose. Yes, for websites too. A good looking website may please a visitor’s eyes, but if it does not offer useful and interesting content or service, all its beauty is soon going to fail. Because whether it is a gaming website, a social network website, an informative website, or a service provider’s website, without good, useful and interesting content and competent service, a website can have no retention power.

For example, one of the most popular website on the World Wide Web is Wikipedia. For its visual appeal, it can only boast of being simple, neat and orderly. But what it lacks in prettiness, it more than compensates by the wealth of information it offers. And that’s what makes it a winner.

3. LOADING TIME: Some website owners focus so much on the looks of their website that they load it up with all sorts of flash content, or other slow loading content. I personally hate the websites that take forever to finish loading. I remember having visited a blog once that had at least ten different fancy widgets. And because of those widgets and flash animations, the blog took so long to open up that I left it without having read a word.

Not everyone has a super fast internet. So it is important to keep the web page light enough to open up in a few seconds. People on internet have a short span of attention. A long wait to see a webpage is insufferable.

4. INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION: A good website must also have a good user interface and quick navigation options and clearly marked and easily accessible categories and pages. And the fewer clicks the navigation requires, the better. Suppose I am browsing through a retail website. I open up a category of products, then click on a sub-category. The page loads up to a sub-category. Then I select a product. The same page loads up to the product description. Now, I’d much rather prefer these two pages opening separately so if I want to go back to the category page, I can just click on its tab or window. If that feature isn’t available, I’d at least want clear navigation links on every page to skip to wherever I want with just one click. If I have to click on ‘Back’ again and again, then I’m soon going to tire out and leave.

There are some blogs and website that divide a single article across different pages, causing the visitor to go on clicking on ‘Next’ or page numbers. I totally hate that. It may help the website or blog owners in increasing the number of hits. But I hate it.

The navigation and user interface of any website must be simple and quick, not roundabout or full of hassles.

5. EASE OF READING: Another very important thing, especially for text heavy websites, is how easy it is to read their content. I have seen several blogs that have tiny gray writing over a black background. Not once have I even bothered to try and read them. Fancy color contrast or fancy fonts may make the page look stylish. But unless the text is readable, it’s no use at all.

6. TRUSTWORTHINESS: Okay, a website might look good, and offer useful information, but if I get an indication that the website is not trustworthy, am I going to linger on it? No! These days, there are tools like WOT (Web Of Trust) that put an indication of trustworthiness on every website, or even on the search results. Now, if the search result displays a bright red WOT sign before it (sign of danger), I’m not going to even click on it.

Even without WOT or such services, any website that displays all sorts of adds, makes announcement of my being a lucky winner of a million pounds, or makes over-tempting offers, receives a quick goodbye from me.

7. CLUTTER FREE: Another thing that pleases me in a website is its tidiness. An over cluttered website is a big turn-off for me. For a website to please me, it has to be clean, and orderly and uncluttered. As an example, I can very easily point to the websites of the and the Both these websites have a clean, uncluttered look, and soothing, calming appearance. Just the way I like the websites to be.

8. ADVERTISEMENTS AND POP-UPS: Advertisements are important for the blog and website owners, I know. But too much of them, stuffed here, there, and everywhere, is definitely not a good thing. A well placed advertisement does no harm, but if you are going to crowd advertisements everywhere, I’d rather skip over to a cleaner website that lets me use the content in peace.

Same with pop-ups, which are even more annoying than other advertisements.

9. LANGUAGE: “People who cannot distinguish between good and bad language, or who regard the distinction as unimportant, are unlikely to think carefully about anything else,” said B.R. Myers. And that’s exactly the impression one gets when one goes through a website full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Surely, if a person isn’t careful about putting forward grammatically correct information, how can we expect the information provided to be factually correct as well? No matter how good looking or quick or useful a website is, if it is riddled with grammatical and vocabulary mistakes, it would be considered less trustworthy than the one where the language used is immaculate.

10. COMPATIBILITY: These days, more and more people are browsing internet on their mobile devices. And thus, it has become imperative for websites to be able to render well on smartphones and tablets, and offer easy navigation and clear and uncluttered view with minimum need of scrolling. Also, the websites must be compatible with all popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox etc.

So these are the points that I consider important to make a website a winner for me. Ultimately these all add to a good user experience. If the visitors like browsing through the website and find it useful and trustworthy, they are going to come back. Otherwise, there are other options available aplenty on the World Wide Web.

As for my favorite website, well, it is said that for a parent, no child is prettier than their own. And so, please excuse me, but there can be no other website more favorite of mine than my own. is my home on the web and I have designed it with much love. I have designed it myself using a pre-set template. While the template put many restrictions on my imagination, still I have tried to keep my website, clean, calm and clutter free.

Other than my own website, and other than websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest which I visit daily, there’s one site that I fell in love with the first time I visited it.

The website is and it sells Indian handicraft products. As you can see at the website, all the important category links are given right on top for easy navigation. The side bar provides more quick navigation links giving the visitors options to browse as per their budget, size or even color choice. It looks orderly and warm and sells products that are not commonly available on other online retailers. But the thing that I loved best was the mix of Hindi and English that the website uses in its description, link and category names. According to David Ogilvy, “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.” And that is exactly what this website does, use what we Indians call Hinglish. That is a mix of Hindi and English that urban Indians have become habitual of using. Even the name Itokri is a mix of Hindi and English. Tokri in Hindi means Basket. The website is still in Beta, I suppose. But it calls itself ‘itokri Beta Beti.’ ‘Beta’ in Hindi means ‘son’ and ‘beti’ means daughter. When the name is pronounced, it sounds like ‘Ayee tokri, beta, beti,’ which means ‘the basket has come, son and daughter.’ Same sort of Hindi-English mix continues throughout the website.

The only problem with itokri is that the products are too expensive. But they are so much fun to check out, that one or the other product is sure to tempt the visitor into buying, even if the visitor, like me, visits it just to browse for fun.

And that’s what a good website must have – power to turn a casual visitor into a dedicated consumer. And a nice, clean, uncluttered look and useful and trustworthy content is what strengthens this power and turns the website into a winner.


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