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171

Breadth vs. depth in menu design

According to Kath Straub and Susan Weinschenk, research shows that users generally find information faster in broad and shallow structured sites than the narrow and deep ones

Links:

  • The article Breadth vs. Depth Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 26, 2003

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See also: Research (129)  Navigation (63) 


 

172

The myth of 7 +/- 2

Periodically, we hear about the rule of 7 +/- 2 from inexperienced interaction designers: Users can't handle more than 7 bullets on a page, seven items in a form list, or more than seven links in a menu. According to James Kalback, this has no evidence in reality

Links:

  • The Myth of Seven, Plus or Minus 2 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 23, 2003

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See also: Research (129)  Information architecture (15)  Links (19)  Navigation (63) 


 

173

Pop-up ads work

Sad but true

Links:

  • The article Pop-Ups Work Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 11, 2003

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See also: Research (129)  Ads (9) 


 

174

Optimizing entry pages

According to Jeff Lash, often more than 50% of a web site's visitors come directly into relevant pages through links from other sites, search engines and emails. Such entry pages should be designed with first-time visitors in mind.

"At a basic level, this means informing them of what the site is, what section they are in, and what tasks they can accomplish. At a more in-depth level, this entails providing related pages or supplemental information, establishing credibility through copywriting and branding, and displaying privacy and security notices if appropriate."

"Internal debates where managers fight for home page links on the public Web site may very well be fruitless. More attention needs to be paid not just to understanding how users are getting to your site, but what their entry and referring pages are."

Links:

  • How did you get here? - Designing for visitors who don't enter through the home page Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 09, 2003

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Web page design (40) 


 

175

Optimal line length on monitors

Dr. Bob Bailey has looked at the literature about optimal line length when reading from a monitor: "What can we conclude when users are reading prose text from monitors? Users tend to read faster if the line lengths are longer (up to 10 inches). If the line lengths are too short (2.5 inches or less) it may impede rapid reading. Finally, users tend to prefer lines that are moderately long (4 to 5 inches)."

Links:

  • The article Optimal Line Length: Research Supporting Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 01, 2003

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See also: Research (129)  Text (24)  Web page design (40) 


 

176

How search query analysis can help us understand users

At Martin Belam's personal web-site, you'll find some very interesting articles on his search query analysis of the BBCi website. His findings shows us how such analysis can help us shape better interactions with websites.

Some of his major findings:
- Over 80% of the users make unique searches that never make the top 500 searches
- 1 in 12 searches are misspelled
- 1 in 5 attempts to use advanced search fail
- URLs make up around 3% of searches
- 36% of searches consisted of just one word, 35% two words, 16% contained 3 words

According to Belam, we can use such findings to:
- Discover misspellings, synonyms, non-conventional naming, URLs, and searches with few descriptive words and leverage this knowledge to provide the best possible content available within search results
- Spot popular content to be promoted more prominently and what non-existent content to provide
- Verify navigational labels against terms used by the visitors

Links:

  • The article How Search Can Help You Understand Your Audience Open link in new window
  • The article A Day In The Life Of BBCi Search Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 23, 2003

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See also: Web traffic analysis (12)  Search (27) 


 

177

Searching vs. linking on the web

Sanjay J. Koyani and Robert W Bailey have surveyed the available literature on linking and searching. They have organized their findings into a series of observations and guidelines.

Some highlights:
- Users have no predisposition to searching or linking, and designers need to accommodate both strategies.
- Users are generally more effective when using links than search
- Advanced search features don't help users
- Users are progressively less and less likely to succeed with additional searches, and designers should make every effort to ensure that users get relevant results on their first attempt
- Designers need to be aware of, and make provision for, the terms that users typically will use for searching
- Search should accommodate misspellings, inappropriate case, spaces and punctuation, misused plurals, and typing errors

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 17, 2003

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See also: Research (129)  Search (27)  Navigation (63) 


 

178

Making Web Advertisements Work

Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman support one of UIE's findings: Users are not willing to be seduced before they have accomplished their initial goal with their visit to a site.

"Web users are highly goal-driven, and ads that interfere with their goals will be ignored."

"Reach users when they're interested and have the time -- don't bother them when they're least likely to attend. Unfortunately, most current Web advertising approaches are aimed at taking what doesn't work and making it ever bigger and more annoying, continuously fighting user behavior. Moving in the wrong direction at a faster pace is not a very insightful strategy."

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 05, 2003

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See also: Ads (9) 


 

179

How to write informative blurbs

Dennis G. Jerz teaches us how to write blurbs:

"On the web, a blurb is a line or short paragraph (20-50 words) that evaluates (or at least summarizes) what the reader will find at the other end of a link. A good blurb should inform, not tease."

According to Jerz, good blurbs can:
- Help people navigate a site by describing content at the other end of a link
- Help people decide whether to invest time in clicking on associated links

Some guidelines:
- Be informative and don't just tease people
- Don't use hyperbole language
- Describe, summarize and/or give a sample of what's to be found at the other side of the link
- By evaluating the content you help people determine the value of the information

Links:

  • Blurbs: Writing Previews of Web Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 01, 2003

Permanent link Comments (1)

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


 

180

Usability Myths Need Reality Checks

Will Schroeder looks at some common Usability myths that have cemented themselves into our profession's foundation and started questioning how they got there.

Links:

  • UIE - Usability Myths Need Reality Checks Open link in new window

Tim Lucas - March 23, 2003

Permanent link Comments (5)

See also: Research (129)  Web page design (40)  Navigation (63)  Usability testing (68) 


 

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