To the front pageThe Interaction Designer's Coffee Break - Weekly postings and quarterly articles about interaction design  
  To the front pageSign inTo the frontpageSearch in GUUUI postingsAbout GUUUI  
   
 

BROWSE GUUUI POSTINGS

Navigation (46)  Web page design (23)  Search (24)  Guidelines and Standards (10)  Links (12)  Text (13)  Forms (11)  Ads (6)  Site design (8)  Shopping Charts (5)  Error handling (5)  Sections (5)  Home pages (2)  Design patterns (4)  E-mails (1)  Personalization (1)  Sitemaps (1)  Print-freindly (1)  Help (2) 
 

51

Paging vs. scrolling search results

In a study from 2002, SURL examined how much information should be presented at one time on a search result page.

In the study, users were asked to locate specific links on three different search result pages:
- One layout with 10 links per page
- One with 50 links per page
- One with 100 links on one page

The study showed that participants favoured and performed best on layouts with both reduced paging and scrolling.

Overall, the fifty-link condition had the fastest search time and was most preferred, possible because this layout required only a limited amount of paging.

The layout with hundred links page was by far least preferred, while the ten link layout performed the worst.

Links:

  • The article Paging vs. Scrolling

Henrik Olsen - September 18, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Search (24)  Navigation (46)  Research (93) 


 

52

How to handle the Page Not Found error

Every site should handle the page not found error gracefully. Two quite similar articles have the following tips:
- Do not redirect people to the home page
- Let the visitor know that something unexpected is going on at first glance
- Do not call it "Error 404"
- Don't assume it's the visitor's fault
- Offer a site map
- Offer a search form
- Fix broken links
- Redirect outdated links to the new page locations

It's also possible to make 404 pages more intelligent by:
- Checking whether the link is an outdated bookmark and redirect to the new location
- Check whether it's a broken link in the site and notify the webmaster
- Check whether the link is from a search engine and use the search phrases to suggest relevant content (e.g. by doing an internal search)
- Add spell checking to catch minor typos in the URL

Links:

  • 'Not Found' Is Not An Option: Error Handling and User Experience
  • The Perfect 404

Henrik Olsen - September 15, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Error handling (5)  Tips and guidelines (65) 


 

53

How sites complies with common standards

According to Jakob Nielsen, "much of the Web is like an anthill built by ants on LSD." Websites are too difficult to use because they deviate from expected norms.

Comparing two studies, Jakob has estimated the extent to which web designs complies with common standards:
- 37% of design elements were done according to the same way by at least 80% of the sites
- 40% of design elements were done the same way by at least 50% the sites
- 23% of design elements were done in so many ways that no single approach dominated

Jakob argues that we must move as far as possible into the realm of design conventions, because people become accustomed to the prevailing standards. They assume that every site will work the same way as other sites they know.

Links:

  • The article The Need for Web Design Standards

Henrik Olsen - September 13, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Guidelines and Standards (10)  Research (93) 


 

54

Eyetrack project reveals how people perceive new sites

A very interesting eyetrack research project looked through the eyes of 46 people to learn how they see online news. It's impossible to summarize the many findings, but here are some highlights:

- Headlines had less than a second of a site visitor's attention
- Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior
- Larger type promotes scanning
- Shorter paragraphs get more attention than longer ones
- People often looked only at the first couple of words in blurbs
- People typically looked below the first screen
- Navigation placed at the top of a homepage performed best

Links:

  • More highlights by CyberJournalist.net
  • The Eyetrack III web site

Henrik Olsen - September 09, 2004 - via WebReference Update

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (93)  Web page design (23)  Eye-tracking (7) 


 

55

Designing the optimal flow

Psychologists have studied "optimal human experience" for many years, often called "being in the flow". In his paper, Benjamin B. Bederson reviews the literature on flow, and takes a look at how it can be related to interface design.

An optimal flow has the following characteristics:
- It challenges us and requires skill without being too hard to use
- It makes it possible for us to concentrate and focus at the task at hand without interruption
- It allow us to stay in control
- It gives us immediate feedback about progress
- It makes us lose track of time

What is most surprising about the findings is that when we experience the optimal flow, we are challenged and have to spend effort to acquire skills.

Links:

  • The paper Interfaces for Staying in the Flow

Henrik Olsen - September 08, 2004 - via UI Designer

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (93)  Navigation (46) 


 

56

Eight quick ways to fix your search engine

Almost every site's search engine could use improvement. Unfortunately, development teams are often stuck tweaking the search technologies that has been purchased and installed.

Jeffery Veen has eight quick ways to improve existing search engines:
1. Take away as much features as you can to simplify your results page
2. Make sure the default ranking you select matches your user needs
3. Make sure the search field has something in it before allowing the form to be submitted
4. Make best bets by taking the top 50 search queries on your site and find three to five pages that satisfy each query.
5. Simplify the layout of your search result page
6. Offer help for zero results
7. If your content is categorized, include links at the top of the result page that show how many results match each category
8. If you link to a page that offers usage instructions, include interfaces for those features so they can be used without switching back and forth.

Links:

  • The article 8 Quick Ways to Fix Your Search Engine

Henrik Olsen - September 05, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Search (24)  Tips and guidelines (65) 


 

57

Web sites are secondary to user experience

According to Jakob Nielsen, the Internet user experience is becoming one of dipping a toe into websites rather than truly visiting them to explore and use them in depth. Users view the Internet as an integrated whole, and use search engines to hunt for specific answers.

To attract users and keep them involved, you should:
- Offer fly-trap content to attracts users by providing clear answers to common problems
- Embellish the answers with rich "see also" links to related content and services
- Go beyond pure information and provide analysis and insight for people who want more
- Publish a newsletters to build relationships

Links:

  • The article When Search Engines Become Answer Engines

Henrik Olsen - August 23, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Site design (8) 


 

58

Users' expectations on the location of common page elements

SURL has examined where users from four geographical areas worldwide expect common web page elements on e-commerce sites to be located. The results showed that users generally expected:
- Links to the front page to be located at the top-left of the page
- Ads to be located at the top of the page
- Internal links to be located at the left side of the page
- External links to be located at the left and right sides of the page
- Links to shopping carts and help to be located at the top-right of the page

Links:

  • The article Preliminary Examination of Global Expectations of Users' Mental Models for E-Commerce Web Layouts

Henrik Olsen - August 04, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Web page design (23)  Navigation (46)  Links (12)  Research (93) 


 

59

Effects of margins and leading on reading performance

SURL has studied reading performance with four layouts using different margins and leading (space between lines). The results showed that the layouts with margins improved comprehension of the texts, but made reading speed slower. Leading didn't have any significant effect on reading performance. Users favored the layout with margins and high leading, because they found it easier to read.

Links:

  • The article Reading Online Text: A Comparison of Four White Space Layouts

Henrik Olsen - August 01, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Text (13)  Web page design (23)  Research (93) 


 

60

Readability analyser

At readability.info you can analyse the readability of text and ascertain a multitude of scores and statistic based on common readability formats. The tool can analyse web pages and Word documents.

Links:

  • The online readability analyser at readability.info

Henrik Olsen - May 21, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tools (51)  Text (13) 


<< Back More >>

Browse GUUUI postings

Methods and the design process

Usability testing (30)  Prototyping and wireframing (32)  Cost-justification and ROI (19)  The design process (14)  Personas (13)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Card sorting (8)  Implementing user-centred design (7)  Expert reviews (6)  Web log analysis (7)  Eye-tracking (7)  Site and flow diagramming (4)  Use Cases (3) 

Design elements

Navigation (46)  Web page design (23)  Search (24)  Guidelines and Standards (10)  Links (12)  Text (13)  Forms (11)  Ads (6)  Site design (8)  Shopping Charts (5)  Error handling (5)  Sections (5)  Home pages (2)  Design patterns (4)  E-mails (1)  Personalization (1)  Sitemaps (1)  Print-freindly (1)  Help (2) 

General aspects

E-commerce (21)  Accessibility (11)  Information architecture (12)  Persuasive design (13)  Visual design (14)  Search engines (7)  Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6)  Web applications (2)  Intranets (1) 

Technology

Flash (6)  URLs (3)  Download time (2)  Javascript (3)  Web standards (2)  Browsers (2) 

Humor

Cartoons (8)  Funny tools and games (10)  Bad designs (7)  Fun with Jakob Nielsen (6)  Designs with humor (3)  Fun music and videos (4)  Fun posters (2)  Funny 404 pages (2)  Misc humor (3) 

Ressource types

Research (93)  Tips and guidelines (65)  Tools (51)  Books (32)  Cases and Examples (12)  Interviews (10)  Primers (9)  GUUUI articles (8)  Posters (5)  Online books (5)  Glossaries (2)  People and organisations (2) 

Information sources

Blogs (11)  Websites (9)  Discussion lists (4)  News (3)  Newsletters (3)  Online magazines (3)  Wikis (1) 

 

 
     
  To the front pageSign inTo the frontpageSearch in GUUUI postingsAbout GUUUI