Published: 15/02/2011 | Modified: 06/06/2014, 11:40 am

Some websites seem logical and easy to navigate, while others are impossible to follow. Here are some practices that different countries have used to make their EURAXESS portals user friendly and attractive

The European Commission has designed a template for national EURAXESS portals that you can easily adapt to your country’s needs. There are, however, some things you can do to personalize the look of your portal; for example, Austria (see Austria 2) colour-coded the sub-sections according to the EURAXESS colour codes. The best way to figure out what suits your country is to visit other national EURAXESS portals and pick out the most appropriate ideas.

No matter how you decide to structure your portal, one golden rule is to try to follow a common logic throughout the site (e.g. use the sub-menus and ‘see also’ sections similarly on your different sub-pages) to make it easier for your users to find their way around.

How can you to know if your logic is a good one? Here are three options:

  • Use your own portal. Try to browse your portal as a regular visitor would. See what’s easy to find and what disturbs the eye—most likely, your other visitors will feel the same. See the example from The Netherlands (example 2) on how to be a user of your own website.
  • Test your portal on other people—anyone from your mother to hired testers. See how The Netherlands (example 1) used students in the keywords test.
  • Last but not least, you can always consult an expert (see The Netherlands 7).

Besides the overall portal structure, well-organized texts are an important feature of a usable portal. See the chapter on content developmentfor how to structure your content.

There are some other methods that have not yet been used in national EURAXESS portals but can prove helpful for self-checking purposes. You can see if your site meets the basic requirements for a user-friendly website as suggested by Belgium, make your website accessible for people with disabilities (see Belgium and Portugal 2) or try using heuristic evaluation (see Portugal 3).