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) 
 

61

Web-usability is improving

According to a survey conducted in late 2003 by the Nielsen Norman Group, usability on the web is on the upswing.

Some results from the survey:
- The overall success rate of completing a site-specific task was 66 percent and 60 percent for web-wide tasks. This compares to an overall success rate of 40 percent in a similar survey conducted in 1997.
- For site-specific tasks, the success rates of the less- and more-experienced groups were 59 percent and 72 percent, respectively, while web-wide tasks were completed at a rate of 52 percent and 67 percent, respectively.
- Web users are being more precise in their choice of search terms. In 1994 the mean length of a search query was 1.3 word, in 1997 1.9 word, and in 2003 2.2 words.
- One area in need of improvement is site search. While 56 percent of the searches done using a popular search engine were successful, only 33 percent of searches using a specific site's search tool succeeded.

Links:

  • The article Web-User Satisfaction on the Upswing

Henrik Olsen - May 13, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (93)  Site design (8)  Search (24)  Navigation (46) 


 

62

Guidelines for link appearance

Jakob Nielsen's guidelines for links appearance:

- Links should be coloured and underlined, though exceptions can be made in menus
- Underlining is important for users with low vision and essential for colour-blind users, if you use red or green link colours
- Shades of blue provide the strongest signal for links, but other colours work almost as well!
- Use vivid and bright colours for unvisited links and "washed out" colours for visited links
- Colours for unvisited and visited links should be variants or shades of the same colour
- Use small fonts for nothing but non-important links, such as copyright info
- And, hey, don't underline text that's not a link and don't render text in link colours

Nielsen also dislikes visual effects, when the cursor hovers over a link, but I can't see how this could cause any usability problems.

Links:

  • The article Guidelines for Visualizing Links

Henrik Olsen - May 10, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Links (12) 


 

63

Choosing form elements

Sarah Miller and Caroline Jarrett present a four-step process for choosing form elements. Here are some of their guidelines:

- Avoid using drop-downs for navigation
- If it is more natural for the user to type the answer rather than select it, use type-in boxes
- If the answers are easily mis-typed, use radio buttons, check boxes, or drop-downs
- If the user needs to review the options to understand the question, donít use drop-downs
- If there are very few options (4 or less), use radio buttons or check boxes - if there are less than 30, use drop-downs
- If the user is allowed to select more than one option, use check boxes
- Keep options visually distinctive or consider a type-in box in preference to a list
- Avoid too many different input methods

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 09, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Forms (11) 


 

64

Web writing that works

Jonathan and Lisa Price, authors of the book Hot Text, have set up a website with loads of tips on how to write for the web. Among the good stuff are their guidelines, their advice on how to write within common genres (such as FAQ's, step-by-step procedures, and customer assistance), and an evaluation tool to measure the quality of your own writing. You'll also find lots of sample chapters from their book spread around the site.

Links:

  • The site Web Writing That Works!

Henrik Olsen - April 26, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Text (13) 


 

65

Usability dwells in the details

According to Larry L. Constatine, successful interaction design for e-commerce sites and web- applications requires meticulous attention to detail, because the smallest matters can ruin the user experience. The ones to blame are the usability professionals failing to pay attention to details and not telling programmers that these tings matter.

In his opinion, it is possible to make your way more or less directly to good design, by following principles of good form and interaction. In the article, he list six broadly focused design principles to follow and explores them by examples.

Links:

  • The article Devilish Details: Best Practices in Web Design

Henrik Olsen - March 25, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Guidelines and Standards (10) 


 

66

Defensive Design for the Web (By 37signals)

How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points.

Learn 40 guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown occurs. See hundreds of real-world examples from companies like Amazon, Google, and Yahoo that show the right (and wrong) ways to handle crisis points. Evaluate your own site's defensive design with an easy-to-perform test and find out how to improve it over the long term.

This is the first book from the innovative 37signals web design and usability experts Jason Fried and Matthew Linderman.

Their publication is praised by other web design and usability authorities such as Jeffrey Zeldman, Mark Hurst, and Steve Krug.

Links:

  • The book description at 37signals.com (Option to buy there)

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - March 17, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Books (32)  Error handling (5) 


 

67

The Page Paradigm again, again

Mark Hurst goes about his Page Paradigm once again, and he is forgiven, since it has a simplicity and consequence to it that Einstein would have loved.

Mark's Paradigm goes like this: On any given web page, users will either...
- click something that appears to take them closer to the fulfilment of their goal,
- or click the Back button on their Web browser.

This time Mark takes a look at some of the inherent consequences of the Paradigm, which includes:
- Users don't much care where they are in a website
- Users ignore breadcrumbs and other navigational elements that don't lead them toward their goal
- Consistency doesn't help users

What matters to the users is whether it's easy to advance to the next step towards their goal and elements that don't do the job will simply be ignored.

Einstein said that "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler." Some argue that Mark's Paradigm might be too simple.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - March 09, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Web page design (23)  Tips and guidelines (65)  Navigation (46) 


 

68

Breadcrumb usage requires training

SURL has made another interesting study on breadcrumb usage Ė the third mentioned here at GUUUI.

Previous studies have shown that while the use of breadcrumbs can be helpful, few users choose to use them. This time SURL wanted to find out whether exposing participant to usage of breadcrumbs in the start of a test was enough to enhance participants' frequency of breadcrumb usage.

SURL found that minimal training did affect participants' usage of the breadcrumb trails and resulted in quicker completion times, fewer page views, and minimal use of the back button. But mere exposure to breadcrumbs usage was not enough to significantly influence their usage more than the participants who received no exposure.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - February 24, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (93)  Navigation (46) 


 

69

Utilize web page footers

According to Jeff Lash, short is out, scrolling is in, and the bottom of web pages should be utilized more effectively. Keep users involved with features such as partial or total sitemaps, "Rate this" features, or special bargains and closeout.

Links:

  • The article More Than Just a Footer

Henrik Olsen - February 14, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Web page design (23) 


 

70

Widgetopia

Christina Wodtke has put up a section of eleganthack with a collection of widgets and user interface elements from various websites. They are nicely categorized and commented by Wodtke. Useful for inspiration.

Links:

  • Widgetopia

Henrik Olsen - January 28, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Web page design (23) 


<< 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