Sunday, 19 January 2014

My Favorite Website Attributes

If 'internet belonging' can be measured and equated to 'citizenship', I reckon i'll be bestowed with the 'resident & ordinarily resident' status, hands down! (pun intended, because hands will be down touch-surfing the internet or typing onto it)!

Websites visited, any day, exceeds people visited so its only natural that I have developed my own likes and expectations from websites as well as reward and punish them (yeah, 'them' means websites) accordingly.

Now, raised as I'm in a pluralistic world - online & offline, in that order, its unlikely i will have 'one' favorite attribute and 'one' favorite website! 

Yes, there are many attributes that excite me coupled with a select club of websites embodying each of those attributes.  

These are the attributes I look for in websites, that make the website stand out for me in millions and achieve a favorite status:




1.  Intuitive:

Well, don't know if that's because I'm a woman, I'm inherently intuitive and value that attribute a great deal - be it in a person or in a website.  

An intuitive website attracts me, engages me and makes me revisit it again and again.

What's my definition of an intuitive website

(a)  To start with, a website that handles content (either a lot of quantity or complicated content or both) effortlessly, comes with a simple, yet powerful layout and navigation system.  Nice, topical icons endear me to a website. The landing page & how seamlessly traffic is directed therefrom to the rest of the site - depending on user inclination - is key.

(b)  Next, a website that makes the same content - all of it - easily accessible on any device of my choice.  This is a 'must have' for me for that website to become my favorite - and, unfortunately, a feature many many websites lack, as it were.  

So, a website that can make the same content accessible in exactly the same manner across a range of devices / gadgets (e.g., a PC - be it laptop or desktop, a tablet, a smart phone etc.) scores very high on my favorite meter!

Let me give you an example:

Food Sense is a website I love for its recipes and fantastic photography of course, but more importantly, for it being highly responsive and intuitive in its layout and the way it handles content across any device - try it, I don't know when was the last time you had a website for an appetizer - this website, by itself, is a great appetizer, irrespective of which device you get to it from!



(c)  As added bonus, I love websites that let me navigate them (well, make that 'control' them :) and play with them using motion control - or at the very least, mouse control.  

The Audi A3 website is one of my top favorites, as much as it is the world's darling.  In case you are on a PC, just remember to connect your webcam. The site, as a tribute to the model that is 'ahead on intuition' lets you beautifully and intuitively navigate - not just the site, but the car itself - using gestures & motion control.  









Fell in love? hmm.. recover fast because this post still has significant bandwidth to cruise ..

2.  Informative:

A website for me, more often than not, is a repository - a virtual library.  So, a website's got to be informative and resourceful for me.  More its informative value and resourcefulness, the merrier.

Here are two of my very clear favorites - I don't remember a day when I'm online and haven't been here - and take note, they are very different genres :)

Mashable actually melts me!  My 'go to' staple for social & digital media, technology and web culture coverage.  




The next favorite for this attribute, well, has nothing to do with where I live :)

New York Magazine is my 'go to' staple, for, guess what (no, I don't live in NY) .. for Fashion :)



I absolutely adore their GIFs, especially, from design to beauty! Go, take a look .. by the way, remember to get back here, in good time!  This is as close you can get to losing your way on the information highway, trust me :)


3.  Inspiring:  

Whilst the aforesaid attributes largely have generic definitions, this one can be subjective.  What's inspiring for me need not be for another.

So, what inspires me?  

Don't laugh: animation and movement inspires me (don't ask me why - i don't know - may be i still have a child well alive in me :) 

And, yes, i concede, i'm lazy.  

Combine the two and what do you get? Yes, GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format).

I get majorly turned on by websites that give me animated content - and yet, don't require me to click or play at all - just animated content playing and replaying by itself :) 

Now, I already mentioned GIFs in point 2 above, but those are for their informative value whilst out here, its purely their entertainment, creativity, imagination and therefore, inspirational value :)

Sample this folks:



and this ..



Inspired?  want these? read on ..

Imgur and Gifhell are my favorite websites for this attribute.

Once in a while, a random favorite emerges if it provides something like this:





4.  Interactive:

Yes, I'm lazy but that's where the challenge for a website is!

Interactive websites turn me on infinitely.  Sites that let me create unique content and most often, run contests and reward such creation as well.  

Being the 'Fashionista' I'm naturally bestowed with a penchant for styling; here are two websites, in the order of their founding, that save my passion from going unrequited:

Polyvore



Polyvore is where most of us turned online stylists for the first time; an incredible virtual, open wardrobe, if you will, it provides excellent online ambiance (read tools & settings) to mix, match, create, test and of course, buy. 

Limeroad is a huge personal favorite.  As far as i know, the only Indian site that lets us play stylist - creating looks with the online 'Scrapbook' and earning shopping credits in return.  We can also curate and earn when our curated goodies get picked up by our network.  The rate at which I'm going, a good part of the rest of my lifetime is gonna be enjoyed right here :)




5.  Indulgent:

This was coming, wasn't it?

I love websites that 'indulge' me - now, what indulges me? 

And, its important to make a fine distinction between 'inspire' and 'indulge'. 

Whilst the aforesaid GIFs inspire me, what indulges me, of course, you saw it coming - is, SHOPPING :)

In an e-commerce world, yes, there are shopping sites dime a dozen.  But, for the discerning fashionista and the born jewellerista I'm, the website that is number 1 on my favorites list is:

Etsy

Etsy lets me shop for handcrafted and vintage products directly from fellow connoisseurs from around the world.  The advantage is, its very personal (I've interacted with loving creators from as varied backgrounds as Israel, the Far East & of course, the US & the rest of the developed world).  I absolutely drool over the range of jewelry and handicrafts .. my wishlist here will clearly exceed my lifeline, trust me!



Forget retirement funds, here i'm, contemplating how to fortify and 'inflation proof' my 'Etsy Fund' :-)

6.  Impenetrable:

Ah, ah, wait a second .. my definition of 'impenetrable' is not about technical security :)

A secure website is an ideal website and I will cover that attribute in a while.

'Impenetrable' for me, quite simply, is what Reddit is!

Reddit is not a run-of-the-mill social media site.  It celebrates and, more importantly, enforces the value of community, authenticity & quality content - at the same time and in one go :) 


This website is almost classical in its approach, values 'educating', keeps 'marketing' out and is a stickler for quality content - I actually paused here, to see if I've expressed my view a tad too strongly and scouted around for this additional reference and vindication for the readers :)  

Its them being such a stickler that makes me classify this website under 'impenetrable' and not 'informative' - though it has tremendous educative value, what appeals to me even more, is their outlook and stickler approach.

That, to me, is 'impenetrable' in today's plagiarized times!

7.  Impressionable:

I like websites that are different :) In the way they look.  Unique and distinct.

A website that leaves a distinct imprint and 'first' impression in a matter of seconds.

Be it through very traditional / classical looks or through use of technology (including, for example, QR - Quick Response codes).

For example, I quite like this Giraffe website.

Its child-like and easy; i absolutely love that 'ticket' to book a table:




8.  Ideal:

Well, well .. this really is not just the last of my attributes.  Its also 'the' least attribute .. the bare minimum I expect my favorite website(s) to have:

(a)  Free of pop-ups and ads! And should load very quickly.  Nothing, i repeat, nothing irritates me more than this not happening!

(b)  I love every new product or category, especially if its a shopping website, to 'open in a new window' by default.  

(c)  Secure payment enabled.

(d)  Does NOT store any of my credit card or personal details by default (seriously, with the range and extent of hacks we have seen, I trust my details only with my brain)!

(e)  Easily readable, short, understandable privacy and other terms of engagement!  

hmm.. since these are the very basics I expect in every website, I'm not even specifying examples for this attribute - here's hoping there never will be a need to provide one! 

That rounds up my favorite website attributes coupled with the examples embodying them :)

Hope you find this 'i' themed blog post about the internet, well, interesting :)

This post is written for a contest by The Blog Bowl and WebRiti.  

No, none of these websites even know I'm writing about them, so this is not a sponsored post :) Its just my passionate & often times, strong views!

Cheers :)