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Craigslist redesigned

Wired has asked some leading designers to give the Craigslist user-interface a lift.


  • Extreme Makeover: Craigslist Edition Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 29, 2009

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User's skills have improved slightly

According to a study by Jakob Nielsen and co., people are getting more confident with the web. At their favourite sites, they perform incredibly fast and competent. But when people visit a site for the first time, well-known usability problems still cause failures.

To help new users, sites must provide much more handholding and simplified content. If they don't, they will scare people away.

In the study, they also found that violations of long-lived usability guidelines still cause problems and irritation, such as:

- Opening new browser windows
- Links that don't change colour when the have been visited
- Splash screens and intros
- A site's logo being the only way to get to the homepage
- Non-standard scrollbars


  • User Skills Improving, But Only Slightly Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 04, 2008

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See also: Research (130)  Guidelines and Standards (15) 



Web 2.0 can be dangerous

According to Jakob Nielsen, the current trends in Web 2.0 are not "inherently bad for users." But for most websites, there is no reason to jump on the 2.0 bandwagon. At best, the features aren't of any use. At worst, they hurt usability "because they were hacked together by geeks drunk on the newest and coolest tech."

Jakob suggest that we make sure that we have all the 1.0 requirements working to perfection before throwing money at 2.0 adventures.


  • Web 2.0 Can Be Dangerous Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 18, 2007

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Current trends in web design

Ellyssa Kroski has compiled a nice overview of current trends in web design. Besides rounded corners, pastel colors, 3D embossed shiny buttons, floor reflections and large text captions, the latest craze is intuitive, legible, usable, social and rich interfaces that are continuously evolving in response to user needs. It's Jakob Nielsen 2.0.


  • Information Design Principles For Web 2.0 Design: Simple & Social Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 12, 2007 - via Usability In The News

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See also: Visual design (20) 



Jared Spool on how to structure sites with lots of content

In this episode of the UIE Usability Tools podcast, Jared is interviewed about how to use department and store pages to subcategorize sites with lots of content.

Jared talks about:
- How department and store pages help narrow down the content choices for users
- How Department pages help users make confident choices between galleries
- What sites successfully take advantage of department pages
- What common mistakes designers make when implementing department and store pages


  • Usability Tools Podcast: Department and Store Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 30, 2007

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See also: Audio and video (48)  Sections (8)  Navigation (63)  Interviews (30) 



Jared Spool on gallery pages

In this second episode of UIE Usability Tools Podcast, Jared Spool is interviewed about UIE's research on gallery pages, that is, pages with lists of links to content.

In the podcast, Jared talks about:
- How galleries help users make confident choices
- What behaviour users exhibit when gallery pages fail them
- How to order links so users can successfully find their content
- Why alphabetized links are often viewed as randomly ordered links
- How to utilize trigger words, the specific words that have meaning to users
-Why longer gallery pages may help users


  • Usability Tools Podcast: Gallery Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 30, 2007

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See also: Audio and video (48)  Sections (8)  Navigation (63)  Interviews (30) 



Striving for consistency is the wrong approach

According to Jared Spool the problem with striving for consistency is that we focus our thoughts purely on the design. Instead, we should ask ourselves whether the users are able to understand how to use the product.

"When you think about consistency, you're thinking about the product. When you're thinking about current knowledge, you're thinking about the user."

So why do we gravitate to consistency?

"Because it's easier to think about. You don't actually have to know anything about your users to talk about making things consistent."


  • Consistency in Design is the Wrong Approach Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 19, 2005 - via elearningpost

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Minimum requirements for international sites

Jakob Nielsen gives his advice on the minimum requirements for ensuring that international users can use your site:

- Accommodate both common and variable name spellings
- Offer a single field for persons names
- Accept an extended character set that goes beyond plain ASCII
- Refer to "postal code/ZIP code" instead of just ZIP code, which is a U.S.-only term.
- Allow for international phone numbers containing a varying number of digits and a country code
- Give measurements in both meters and inches
- Provide temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius
- If you have a multistandard product, explicitly say so


  • The article International Sites: Minimum Requirements Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 09, 2005

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95) 



Usability of websites for teenagers

Jakob Nielsen and NN/G have studied teenagers using 23 web sites. In the study they found that:

- Teenagers have a lower success rate (55%) than adults (66%)
- Their low performance is caused by insufficient reading skills, less sophisticated research strategies, and a dramatically lower patience level
- Surprisingly, tiny fonts caused the teens problems and provoked negative comments
- Teens like cool-looking graphics, but the sites have to be fast and the interaction straight forward
- They don't like to read a lot
- They're easily bored and want interactive features
- The word "kid" is a teen repellent


  • The article Usability of Websites for Teenagers Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 01, 2005

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See also: Research (130) 



Web sites are secondary to user experience

According to Jakob Nielsen, the Internet user experience is becoming one of dipping a toe into websites rather than truly visiting them to explore and use them in depth. Users view the Internet as an integrated whole, and use search engines to hunt for specific answers.

To attract users and keep them involved, you should:
- Offer fly-trap content to attracts users by providing clear answers to common problems
- Embellish the answers with rich "see also" links to related content and services
- Go beyond pure information and provide analysis and insight for people who want more
- Publish a newsletters to build relationships


  • The article When Search Engines Become Answer Engines Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 23, 2004

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95) 

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