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1

Eye-tracking study of e-commerce sites

Eyetools Inc and MarketingSherpa have published the report "The Landing Page Handbook". The report describes the results of an eye-tracking study of typical e-commerce sites and has design guidelines for improving web page layout.

Some highlights from the report:
- The upper-left corner is always seen
- Most web pages are scanned, not read
- Any text that is underlined or blue get high readership and many people will read only the emphasized text before deciding to read on
- Material underneath images is viewed quite often
- People experience such a strong pull to look at images that they can trump left-to-right reading
- Navigational links or bottoms usually distract visitors from the main purpose of the page

Links:

  • The article Are Your Visitors Seeing What You Think?
  • The book The Landing Page Handbook

Henrik Olsen - March 03, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: Eye-tracking (6)  E-commerce (21)  Research (82) 


 

2

Online edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

O'Reilly has made the 1st edition of the book Architecture for the World Wide Web by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville freely available online.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - February 13, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Online books (4)  Information architecture (10) 


 

3

Creating friendly forms

In this sample chapter from the book Defensive Design for the Web, Jason Fried and Matthew Linderman offer a set of illustrated guidelines on how to create attractive and functional forms:

- Highlight either required or optional fields
- Accept entries in all common formats
- Provide sample entries, pull-downs, and formatting hints to ensure clean data
- Explicitly state limits to characters, number of entries, and so forth
- If customers can't choose it, don't show it
- Validate entries (as soon as possible).
- Eliminate the Reset button and disable the Submit button after it's clicked
- Assist form dropouts by saving information

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 04, 2004

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See also: Forms (10)  Tips and guidelines (60) 


 

4

Prototyping ends the war between clients and developers

In his online book, Client vs. Developers Wars, Eric Holter explains how time commonly wasted in miscommunication during web projects can be poured into actually improving sites by incorporating prototyping into the design process. He tells the woeful tale of conflicts and negative experience, which everybody involved in web development know all too well, and shows how the power of interaction design can change the dynamics of the web design process.

The book is free for download. A must read for interaction designers.

Links:

  • The online book Client vs. Developer Wars

Henrik Olsen - June 19, 2004

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See also: Online books (4)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

5

Institutionalization of Usability: A Step-by-Step Guide

This book by Eric Schaffer (Founder & CEO of Human Factors International) answers the question: "How do I make usability routine in my business?" ... and provides the case for corporate commitment.

Usability must be institutionalized as a sustained, routine, and necessary part of the business process.

Executives, managers, and practitioners need a mature usability engineering capability with infrastructure, standards, training, and proper staffing.

Links:

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - June 10, 2004

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See also: Implementing user-centred design (7) 


 

6

Defensive Design for the Web (By 37signals)

How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points.

Learn 40 guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown occurs. See hundreds of real-world examples from companies like Amazon, Google, and Yahoo that show the right (and wrong) ways to handle crisis points. Evaluate your own site's defensive design with an easy-to-perform test and find out how to improve it over the long term.

This is the first book from the innovative 37signals web design and usability experts Jason Fried and Matthew Linderman.

Their publication is praised by other web design and usability authorities such as Jeffrey Zeldman, Mark Hurst, and Steve Krug.

Links:

  • The book description at 37signals.com (Option to buy there)

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - March 17, 2004

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See also: Error handling (5) 


 

7

Dive Into Accessibility

Mark Pilgrim's online book Dive Into Accessibility answers the why and how of website accessibility. It starts out with a presentation of five fictitious internet users with different kinds of disabilities and presents 25 tips on how to make their online life less tedious.

The book is focused on how to make popular weblogging tools more accessible, but the tips apply to all types of websites.

Links:

  • The online book Dive Into Accessibility

Henrik Olsen - January 04, 2004

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See also: Accessibility (10) 


 

8

Building Accessible Websites

With his book Building Accessible Websites, Joe Clark has done an amazing job in explaining how disabled people experience the web and how we can improve their online life. The book is a thorough, practical and pragmatic guide, with a mission to teach us to do accessibility the right way - opposed to the "correct" way.

Clark's book is engaging, informative, amusing, frequently provocative and available online for free. But you should consider buying it, since Clark deserves every penny he gets from it.

Links:

  • The book at joeclark.org
  • The book at amazon.com
  • The book at amazon.co.uk

Henrik Olsen - December 20, 2003

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See also: Accessibility (10) 


 

9

Web design and usability guidelines

Department of Health and Human Services's National Institutes of Health in partnership with the National Cancer Institute has published the book Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines. It provides guidelines for improving web design, navigation, and functionality. Each guideline is rated by "Strength of Evidence", based on findings from web design and usability studies.

The book is based on the guidelines, which has been available at usability.gov for some years. It can be downloaded for free in PDF format.

Links:

  • Downloadable version of the book Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines
  • The web design and usability guidelines at usability.gov

Henrik Olsen - November 01, 2003 - via WebReference Update Newsletter

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See also: Guidelines and Standards (10) 


 

10

Speed Up Your Site

Jennifer Alvin from Digital Web Magazine reviews Andrew King's book Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization:

"Andrew King offers a variety of ways to trim the fat in common design elements, as well as tips for increasing server performance. No other book I've seen covers so many types of optimization in one place with such a thorough investigation of why the tricks work. The extensive technical explanations alone are worth the list price, and each is backed up with a step-by-step approach to making your site a speedy champion."

Links:

  • The review at Digital Web Magazine
  • Sample chapters at WebReference.com
  • The book at amazon.com
  • The book at amazon.co.uk

Henrik Olsen - August 17, 2003 - via Digital Web Magazine's newsletter

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See also: Download time (2) 


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