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Navigation (63)  Web page design (40)  Search (27)  Text (24)  Forms (30)  Links (19)  Guidelines and Standards (15)  Site design (14)  Ads (9)  Design patterns (8)  Sections (8)  Shopping Carts (9)  Error handling (7)  Home pages (9)  Help (3)  E-mails (3)  Sitemaps (2)  Personalization (1)  Print-friendly (1)  Landing pages (5) 
 

111

11 ways to improve landing pages

When visitors click an online promotional creative they arrive at a landing page. The purpose of the landing page is to make the visitor do something (e.g. register for a newsletter or buy a product). Michael Nguyen gives 11 tips on how to make visitors take that desired action, where these five seem to be the most important:

- Eliminate unneeded elements that can distract visitors
- Make the landing page match the creative
- Remove navigation that isn't important to the conversion process
- Avoid the urge to promote or link to other areas of your site
- Place important elements above the "fold"

Links:

  • The article 11 Ways to Improve Landing Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - July 12, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Persuasive design (21)  E-commerce (27)  Landing pages (5)  Web page design (40) 


 

112

When options are hidden users will pick the first ones

The May 2005 issue of HFI looks at study which has shown that when options in a form element is hidden (e.g. in a drop-down list), people tend to pick one of the first items. Not because people are satisficing, but because it requires less mental workload.

Dr. Eric Schaffer concludes that "If a respondent is picking a known response from a long list (e.g., their state or salutation title), dropdowns may be fine. However, when the respondent is comparing selection options...the behavioral tendency of designers to use dropdowns to save space can be problematic."

Links:

  • The article When what they see is what you get  Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 13, 2005

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See also: Forms (30)  Research (129) 


 

113

Error message guidelines

According to Jakob Nielsen good error messages should:
- Clearly indicate that something has gone wrong
- Be in a human-readable language
- Be polite and not blame the users
- Describe the problem
- Give constructive advice on how to fix the problem
- Be visible and highly noticeable, both in terms of the message and how it indicates where things went wrong
- Preserve as much of the user's work as possible so that they don't have to do everything over again
- If possible, guess the correct action and let users pick it form a list of fixes
- Educate users by providing links to pages with an explanation of the problem

Links:

  • The article Error Message Guidelines Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 13, 2005

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See also: Error handling (7)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

114

Collection of interface design patterns

Jenifer Tidwell has created a collection of design patterns for websites, desktop application, "and everything in between."

"They're common problems, and there's no point in reinventing the wheel every time you need, say, a sortable table -- plenty of folks have already done it, and learned how to do it well. Some of that knowledge is written up here, in an easily-digestible format."

"If you're running short on ideas, or hung up on a difficult design quandary, read over these and see if any of them are applicable."

Links:

  • UI Patterns and Techniques Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 27, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Tools (106)  Design patterns (8) 


 

115

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

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See also: Information architecture (15)  Navigation (63) 


 

116

Users' expectations of the design of search

According to Jakob Nielsen search is such a prominent part of the web experience that users have developed a precise idea of how it's supposed to work. Deviating from users' expectations almost always causes usability problems.

Users expect search to have three components:

- A box where they can type words
- A button labeled "search" that they click to run the search
- A list of top results that's linear, prioritized, and appears on a new page

Given how ingrained it is, it's crucial to avoid invoking user's expectations for other interactions. Users' expectations are so strong that the label "Search" equals keyword searching, not other types of search.

Links:

  • The article Mental Models For Search Are Getting Firmer Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 09, 2005

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See also: Search (27)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

117

Guidelines for helping people when things go wrong

A white paper by 37signals lists 20 rules for improving contingency design - design for when things go wrong.

1. Use language your customers understand
2. Be polite
3. Offer an escape route
4. Offer customized "Page Not Found" error pages
5. Make sure the browser's "Back" button works
6. Reduce the need for constant back-and forth between different pages to fix errors
7. Use highly visible color, icons, and directions to highlight the problem
8. Don't make customers guess
9. Briefly and clearly explain what's happening
10. Don't block content with ads
11. Use smart search technology that understands common mistakes
12. Don't offer too many or inaccurate search results
13. Help log-in with tips or by emailing information
14. Offer contextual FAQs
15. Answer e-mails quickly and effectively
16. Don't force registration in order to assist customers
17. Solicit feedback on contingency design
18. Provide a fallback plan
19. Learn from mistakes
20. Plan for failure

Links:

  • The white paper Contingency Design: Maximizing Online Profitability By Helping People When Things Go Wrong Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 17, 2005

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Error handling (7) 


 

118

Checkout guidelines

Neil Turner outlines ten ways to improve the usability of the ordering process at e-commerce sites:

1. Identify users with their e-mail address
2. Break up the ordering process into bite size chunks
3. Tell users where they are and where they're going
4. Don't make the ordering process harder than it needs to be
5. Address common user queries
6. Highlight required fields
7. Make the ordering process flexible
8. Put users' minds at ease
9. Have users confirm their order before buying then provide confirmation
10. Send a confirmation e-mail

Links:

  • The article Ten ways to improve the usability of your ecommerce site Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 10, 2005

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See also: Shopping Carts (9)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

119

30% of web users have low literacy

According to Jakob Nielsen 30% of web users have low literacy and the number will probably grow to 40% in the next five years.

Unlike higher-literacy users, lower-literacy users don't scan text. They can't understand a text by glancing at it and must carefully read word for word. Scrolling breaks their visual concentration and they start skipping text as soon as it becomes too dense.

Some recommendations:
- Use text aimed at a 6th grade reading level on important landing pages
- On other pages use an 8th grade reading level
- Place main points at the top of the pages
- Make search tolerant of misspellings
- Simplify navigation
- Streamline the page design
- Avoid text that moves or changes

A study showed that revising the text of a web site for lower-literacy users made it perform significant better for both lower- and higher-literacy users.

Links:

  • The article Lower-Literacy Users Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 17, 2005

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See also: Accessibility (13)  Text (24)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

120

Sitemap design - alphabetical or categorical?

In this study from 1999 SURL compared search performance with three types of sitemap designs:
1. Alphabetized sitemap
2. Full categorical sitemap
3. Restricted categorical sitemap, where the links of only one category is visible at the time

Results:
- Categorical sitemaps had significantly higher numbers of successful searches
- Users were significantly more satisfied with the categorical sitemaps
- The full categorical sitemap was the most preferred

The participants found that it was difficult to find information in alphabetized sitemaps because they had to guess how the links are worded. They also said that the full sitemap design was preferred to the restricted because it was easier to compare information between the categories.

Links:

  • The article Sitemap Design: Alphabetical or Categorical? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 06, 2005

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See also: Sitemaps (2) 


 

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