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181

Browsing vs. searching for product information

UIE have tested whether users shopping online prefer to search or use category links when looking for specific products. They found that the design of the site and the type of products being sold determined user behaviour.

Even though many users claim that they always go to search immediately, there wasn't a single user in the study who always chose the search engine first. On the contrary, 20% of the participants chose links exclusively.

UIE concludes that users seem to use the search engine as a fallback when links doesn't satisfy their needs.

Links:

  • The article Are There Users Who Always Search? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2003

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


 

182

Cascading vs. index menu layouts

SURL has compared user performance and satisfaction of horizontal and vertical cascading menus to a categorical index menu layout. They found considerable differences in task completion times that strongly favoured the index menu. The poorest performer, both objectively and subjectively, was the horizontal dropdown menu.

Links:

  • The article Cascading versus Indexed Menu Design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 16, 2003

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See also: Research (129)  Navigation (63) 


 

183

Scrolling is faster that paging

SURL has examined the use of paging vs. scrolling in reading passages of text. The study showed that that it took the participants significantly longer to read text split into multiple pages compared to full text layouts, where they had to scroll.

"Participants stated that they found the Paging condition to be "too broken up," and that they had to "go back and forth" quite a bit to search for information. It is possible then, that for searching as well, viewing more of the document on a single screen facilitated easier scanning."

Links:

  • The article The Impact of Paging vs. Scrolling on Reading Online Text Passages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 27, 2003

Permanent link Comments (1)

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


 

184

Investor Relations Website Design

NN/g has tested 42 users performing investment-oriented task on 20 company websites. Some of the results showed that:

- 70% of the users completed the tasks
- 35% of the users couldn't get a copy of the company's latest quarterly report
- 77% couldn't find the high/low share prices for an earlier quarter

Jakob Nielsen concludes that:

- Individual investors are intimidated by overly complex IR sections and need simple summaries of financial data.
- Professional investors are using other sources of financial information and just want management's visions about the company's future
- Both individual and professional investors want company background information and overview of recent news

If you can afford it, NN/g offer a 121 pages report with 65 design guidelines for improving IR usability.

Links:

  • The article Investor Relations Website Design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 18, 2003 - via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Research (129)  Sections (8) 


 

185

Homepage real estate allocation

According to Jakob Nielsen, only 39% of the space of web site front pages is used for areas of user interest (when including browser tool bars and borders). In a study, the following use of browser real estate was found:

- Unused: 20%
- Navigation: 20%
- Content of interest to users: 20%
- Operating system and browser overhead: 19%
- Self-promotions (ads for the site's own stuff): 9%
- Welcome, logo, tagline, and other site identifications: 5%
- Filler (useless stock art, such as "smiling ladies"): 5%
- Advertisements: 2%

I especially like the "Filler (useless stock art, such as "smiling ladies")". This is properly what others would call "graphic design" or "branding" elements.

Links:

  • The article Homepage real estate allocation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 10, 2003 - via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox Announcement List

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Research (129)  Home pages (9) 


 

186

How to design print-friendly pages

In the article, Printing the Web, James Kalbach provides 10 guidelines on how to design print-friendly pages:

1. Remove navigation
2. Remove or change graphical ads
3. Use relative page widths
4. Use serif fonts
5. Add citation information
6. Remove dark backgrounds
7. Write out URLs
8. Display the print-friendly version before printing
9. Collate all information (e.g. parts of an article) into the final print version
10. Ensure that colour coding isn't required to understand content

In the article you'll also find advice on where to learn how use style sheets (CSS) and XSL to control printing formats.

Links:

  • The article Printing the Web Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 09, 2003

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


 

187

Usability study of breadcrumb navigation

"This exploratory study was conducted to determine whether participants used the breadcrumb trail as a navigational tool within a site. We found the overall usage of the breadcrumb in site navigation to be low. Breadcrumb users were not found to be more efficient than users who did not use the breadcrumb."

Links:

  • Breadcrumb Navigation: An Exploratory Study of Usage Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 06, 2003 - via WebWord Weblog

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See also: Navigation (63)  Research (129) 


 

188

Primer on visual design

Luke Wroblewski has written a nice primer on visual design of web pages, which condenses the core principles of functional aesthetics.

There is too little talk about visual design among interaction designers and information architects though it's an important aspect of usability. If you want to learn more, read Kevin Mullet and Darrel Sano's book Designing Visual Interfaces.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - January 28, 2003

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See also: Primers (14)  Visual design (19)  Web page design (40) 


 

189

Should hypertext links be blue and purple?

Luc Carton discusses the ancient question about whether links should be blue and purple.

Findings from study of 100 top American retail sites showed that only 27% of the sites still use the standard blue colour for links. Moreover, 61% of the sites do not use different colours according to whether the links have been visited or not, and only 13% of them use the colour purple for visited links.

On account of this study, Carton concludes that the blue/purple standard no longer exists, and since the main characteristic of a link isn't the colour, but the underlining of the text, colour doesn't matter.

Links:

  • The article Should hypertext links be blue and purple? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 14, 2003

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: Research (129)  Links (19) 


 

190

ISO Standards for HCI and Usability

The International Standards Organisation publishes standards related to Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Usability.

These standards are categorised as primarily concerned with:

1. The use of the product (effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a context of use)

2. The user interface and interaction

3. The process used to develop the product

4. The capability of an organisation to apply user centred design

Links:

  • The HCI-related ISO list (and summaries) provided by Serco (TRUMP project) Open link in new window
  • Search and buy the reports (Paper or PDF) at the ISO site Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - January 07, 2003

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See also: Tools (106)  Guidelines and Standards (15) 


 

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