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11

Avoid links that scroll to sections of pages

According to Jakob Nielsen, we should avoid links that scroll to sections of a page, since users expect that links will take them to a new page.

Studies have shown that within-page links typically waste far more time than they save because users click back and forth multiple times to review the same material.

If you must use within-page links, tell the user that clicking the link will scroll to the page to the relevant section.

Only for very long pages, such as long alphabetized lists and FAQs, will the time saved be worth the confusion that within-page links can cause. Also, linking to a specific section on a different page is not as bad as using within-page links on a single page, since the users are taken to a new page.

Ideally, create separate pages for everything that serves as a link destination.

Links:

  • Avoid Within-Page Links Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 25, 2006

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: Links (15)  Tips and guidelines (80) 


 

12

Alphabetized lists are random lists

"Unless you can be absolutely sure that users will know the exact terms in your list, alphabetical order is just random order."

According to Jared Spool, alphabetized lists work for people's name, states, cities, car models, and teams. But they fall apart for things where users don't know the exact wording. Users must resort to the same behavior they need when links are randomly ordered. They must scan every link to make sure they can see what is relevant and what isn't.

Instead, we should use a divide-and-conquer approach by categorizing the items. Once broken up into small groups, it doesn't matter what the order of the links are.

Links:

  • Alphabetized Links are Random Links Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 12, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Information architecture (13)  Sitemaps (2)  Links (15)  Tips and guidelines (80) 


 

13

Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Jared M. Spool has made his presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness available online. Download a MP3 and a PDF, listen to the presentation in its entirety and see all the examples using the presentation handout.

Spool shares practical design strategies from effective web sites and shows:
- How the best teams allocate their resources by focusing on the most important content on the site and how this affects every page
- Proven design techniques, such as persona-based design, to help teams understand what users need from the site
- Why the most effective sites never relaunch, yet manage to always have fresh designs
- How we can utilize the scent of information and how people search for their content to give your site a huge advantage

Links:

  • The presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 09, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Audio and video (23)  Personas (17)  Talks and presentations (12) 


 

14

Designing pages listing links to content

According to Jared Spool, gallery pages - pages listing links to content pages - are the hardest working pages on a web site. They separate those users who find the content they are looking for from the users who don't.

Studies by UIE show that when gallery pages don't contain the information that users will need to make their choice, they have to resort to "pogosticking" - jumping back and forth between the gallery and the content pages hoping they'll eventually hit the content they desire.

UIE also noticed that users expect the most important items to always be listed first in the gallery. If the first few items aren't of interest, they often assume the rest will be even less interesting.

Links:

  • Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 01, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (103)  Persuasive design (14)  Sections (5)  Web page design (31) 


 

15

The eight types of navigation pages

Watching users search for content, UIE realized that there are essentially eight types of navigation pages a user can run into:

- Content pages
- Galleries, listing links to content pages
- Departments, used to list links to gallery pages
- Stores, used to segment content areas (e.g. World, Business, Sports etc. on a new site) and list links to departments
- Gallery-level search results, which are similar to gallery pages, except they are search engine generated results
- Department-level search results, used to divide search results into departments to assist in the winnowing process
- Search entry page, where the user enters their search query (frequently a section of a page)
- Home page (landing pages) tasked with orienting users in the right direction

According to Jared Spool, the most navigation failures are due to poorly-designed gallery pages that don't reveal what's on the content pages they link to.

Links:

  • The article The 8 Types of Navigation Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 29, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)


 

16

Explain icons with labels

"Part of the user experience efforts around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure. One of the problems that were noticed was that non-expert users didn't use the toolbar at all. One change caused a total turnaround: labeling the important toolbar buttons."

According to Jensen Harris, icons can work by themselves, but the richness is just not there relative to human language.

Links:

  • The Importance Of Labels Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 06, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (80) 


 

17

Global navigation is rarely helpful

According to Jared Spool from UIE, persistent global navigation isn't important to users:

"Maybe they'll click on the global navigation on the home page (however, probably not, if the page is well designed). Then they'll never click on it again, because, after all, they are now looking for local information - not global information"

"We've observed that it's almost always the case that if a user is clicking on global navigation, it's because they are completely lost."

"Having global navigation isn't a bad thing. It's just not something that should garner a lot of resources, as it's unlikely to be important in the user experience."

Links:

  • The article Global Site Navigation: Not Worthwhile? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 21, 2005 - via Usernomics

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (103) 


 

18

Open new windows for PDF and other non-web documents

If you must use PDF or other PC-native documents on websites, open them in new windows. Jakob Nielsen gives the following guidelines:

- Open non-web documents in a new browser window.
- Warn users in advance that a new window will appear.
- Remove the browser chrome (such as the back button) from the new window.

According to Jakob Nielsen, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application when using PC-native file formats. When people are finished, they click the window's close button instead of the back button, and are surprised that the web page is gone. Because they are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser interface.

Links:

  • The article Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 29, 2005

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Tips and guidelines (80) 


 

19

Introduction to information scent

This article by Iain Barker introduces the concept of information scent and explains how creating strong information scents enables users to confidently step through a site and find the information they require.

"The principles around how to create stronger information scents are quite simple, providing users with more context makes it easier for them to select the best option."

Links:

  • The article Information scent: helping people find the content they want Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 15, 2005 - via Column Two

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Primers (11) 


 

20

Categorization doesn't work for large amounts of information

According to Clay Shirky, the ways we apply categorization to the electronic world are based on bad habits. In his opinion tagging (free-form labelling, without regard to categorical constraints) is a better fit for large amounts of information.

Categorization can work for a limited information space that is based on formal and stable entities organized by small number of expert cataloguers. But it doesn't work for a large amount of information that has no formal categories and a non-expert user base.

Links:

  • The article Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 22, 2005 - via InfoDesign

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Information architecture (13) 


 
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