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21

OK button first or Cancel first?

Should the OK button come before or after the Cancel button? According to Jakob Nielsen, this is one of the questions that people can argue about for hours but really doesn\'t matter much.

But if you really want an objective decision criterion, follow the platform conventions. If you users are primarily Windows users, put Cancel last. If your users are primarily Mac users, put Cancel first.

If Windows users equals Mac users, flip a coin.

Links:

  • OK–Cancel or Cancel–OK? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 01, 2008

Permanent link Comments (8)

See also: Forms (30) 


 

22

And if you are using GNOME on Linux, Unix, or Solaris, you will put the action/OK button in the lower rightmost area of the dialog, and the cancel to the left of it. Although it's preferred to use a more descriptive verb than the word "OK" whenever possible:

library.gnome.org/devel/hig-book/

KDE, of course, is the opposite of this and cancel always appears further to the right than the action button(s).

developer.kde.org/documentation/standards/kde/style/dialogs/index.html

M - May 29, 2008

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23

User's read only 20% of what we write

Based on studies of user's browsing habits, Jakob Nielsen estimates that people, on average, read 20% of a web page.

Links:

  • How Little Do Users Read? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 07, 2008

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See also: Research (129)  Text (24) 


 

24

Book: Web Form Design

Luke Wroblewski's book about designing effective and engaging web forms is available for purchase. Luke has been writing a great deal about form design at his blog and I'm sure his book is worth a read.

Links:

  • The book Web Form Design Open link in new window
  • Luke's blog entries on form design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 05, 2008

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See also: Books (47)  Forms (30) 


 

25

Left-justify vertical lists and menus

According to Jakob Nielsen, eyetracking studies show that users tend to rapidly move their eyes down the left-hand side of lists (e.g. vertical menus). In order to design vertical list that are easy to scan, Jakob recommend that we should:

- Left-justify the list items so that the user's eyes can move in a straight line. Items that are right-aligned make scanning more difficult.

- Start each list item with the one or two most information-carrying words. People will only read a item if something catches their eyes in the left-most one or two words.

- Avoid using the same few words to start list items, because doing so makes them harder to scan.

Links:

  • Right-Justified Navigation Menus Impede Scannability Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 29, 2008

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See also: Navigation (63)  Research (129)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

26

Putting yourself inside the heads of users

Amy Hoy has written a nice article on how designers can improve their designs by putting themselves in the shoes of users. One of her techniques is to start the design process by creating a flowchart of what might happen inside the head of users as they attempt to complete some kind of task. In the article, she takes a look at how well two browser firms support users' decision-making process.

Hilarious quote from the article: "The phrase "user experience" is quite a mouthful. Even the acronym is kinda scary: UX, UXP, or sometimes UXD (D for "design"). It pretty much looks and sounds like the noise you make when you puke [...] (UXP! Hello again, dinner!)"

Links:

  • Product pages: so much suck, so easy to fix Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 03, 2008

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See also: Landing pages (5)  Home pages (9)  Expert reviews (11) 


 

27

Top-10 design mistakes in web applications

According to Jakob Nielsen, these are the 10 most common usability violations found in web applications:

1. Non-standard interface controls, such as home-grown scrollbars
2. Inconsistency in the way things work, appear and are labelled across the app
3. No providing proper affordances that give people visual clues about what they can do with an object (e.g. that they can drag-and-drop an object)
4. Not giving proper feedback about what is happening
5. Bad error messages that don't tell what went wrong and how to fix it
6. Asking for the same information twice
7. Not providing defaults (e.g. in a list of radio buttons)
8. Dumping users into the app without giving them an idea of how it works
9. Not indicating how collected information will be used
10. Offering system-centric features that reflect the system's internal view rather than the users

And generous as Jakob is, he also has a bonus mistake: Reset buttons on web forms.

Links:

  • Top-10 Application-Design Mistakes Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 20, 2008

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See also: Web applications (6)  Error handling (7)  Guidelines and Standards (15) 


 

28

User's skills have improved slightly

According to a study by Jakob Nielsen and co., people are getting more confident with the web. At their favourite sites, they perform incredibly fast and competent. But when people visit a site for the first time, well-known usability problems still cause failures.

To help new users, sites must provide much more handholding and simplified content. If they don't, they will scare people away.

In the study, they also found that violations of long-lived usability guidelines still cause problems and irritation, such as:

- Opening new browser windows
- Links that don't change colour when the have been visited
- Splash screens and intros
- A site's logo being the only way to get to the homepage
- Non-standard scrollbars

Links:

  • User Skills Improving, But Only Slightly Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 04, 2008

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See also: Research (129)  Site design (14)  Guidelines and Standards (15) 


 

29

User interface patters site

Anders Toxboe has set up an online user interface patterns library. It's a personal project but "extremely open to contributions."

Links:

  • UI-Patterns.com Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 03, 2008

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Design patterns (8) 


 

30

Account sign-in - 8 more design mistakes to avoid

Jared Spool shares 8 more design mistakes with account sign-in:

9. Not telling users the requirements for username and password up front

10. Requiring stricter password requirements than the NSA

11. Using challenge questions people won't remember

12. Not returning users to their desired objective after they have signed in

13. Not explaining users it's the username or password they got wrong

14. Not putting a register link when the sign-in is an error

15. Not giving the user a non-email solution to recover their password

16. Requiring more than one element when recovering passwords

Links:

Henrik Olsen - January 16, 2008

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Forms (30) 


 

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