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51

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 as long as they are not extremely broad.

"Research comparing navigation efficiency through sites of varying depths and breadths broadly converges on the findings that users find roughly 16 (ungrouped) top-level links leading into 2-3 subsequent menus the most efficient, learnable and least error prone."

But several other factors are also thought to influence ease of navigation, such as clear and distinct labels, and effective sub-grouping of categories.

Links:

  • The article Breadth vs. Depth

Henrik Olsen - June 26, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (46) 


 

52

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 on the contrary. The psychologist George Miller's conclusions apply to what we can memorize not what we can perceive.

Current research strongly supports that broad structures perform better than deep structures. Users can more easily cope with broad structures, they have a greater chance of getting lost in deep hierarchical structures, and new visitors are able to get a better overview of sites offerings from a broader structure.

Links:

  • The Myth of Seven, Plus or Minus 2

Henrik Olsen - June 23, 2003

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See also: Information architecture (12)  Links (12)  Navigation (46) 


 

53

Pop-up ads work

Sad but true pop-up ads seem to work. According to Advertising.com, pop-up ads generate click-through 13 times that of standard banners and generates sales more than 14 times better. At the same time, pop-up ads seem to be almost as hated as spam mail. IVillage reported that 92.5% of its users rated pop-up ads as their least favourite part of the site experience.

Links:

  • The article Pop-Ups Work

Henrik Olsen - June 11, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Ads (6) 


 

54

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

Henrik Olsen - June 01, 2003

Permanent link Comments (2)

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


 

55

Using Photographs to Increase Trust in a Website

According to Dr. Bob Bailey, current research and studies show that staff photographs increase peoples trust in a website. But they should be used with care. In a study of online shopping, the photographs had a positive impact on non-experienced shoppers, while some experienced shoppers rejected them as fluff.

Links:

  • The article Using Photographs to Increase Trust in a Website

Henrik Olsen - May 19, 2003

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See also: Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6) 


 

56

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: Search (24)  Navigation (46) 


 

57

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

Tim Lucas - March 23, 2003

Permanent link Comments (5)

See also: Web page design (23)  Navigation (46)  Usability testing (30) 


 

58

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?

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (46)  Search (24) 


 

59

How experts evaluate web sites' credibility

In parallel with Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab's study of how average people evaluate web sites' credibility, Sliced Bread Design and Comsumer WebWatch conducted a study of how industry experts rate credibility of the very same sites. The results showed that experts were far less concerned about visual appeal and more about the quality of a site's information.

The comparative studies suggest that while people without deep knowledge and personal interest in a site will judge it by its visual design, people involved in a site's professional domain are more concerned about the quality and accuracy of the content.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - March 19, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6)  Expert reviews (6) 


 

60

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

Henrik Olsen - March 16, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (46) 


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