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Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility

Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab has compiled 10 guidelines for building the credibility of a web site.

1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.
2. Show that there's a real organization behind your site
3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide
4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site
5. Make it easy to contact you
6. Design your site so it looks professional
7. Make your site easy to use - and useful
8. Update your site's content often
9. Use restraint with any promotional content
10. Avoid errors of all types

On their site you'll find more details and supporting research.


  • The Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 02, 2003

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See also: Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6) 



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.


  • 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: Research (129)  Sections (8) 



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.


  • The article Printing the Web Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 09, 2003

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See also: Web page design (40) 



User-Centered URL Design

Jesse James Garrett looks at the readability of URLs and some techniques to improve human guess-ability.


  • The Essay Open link in new window
  • Jesse's IA resources Open link in new window

ben hyde - January 27, 2003

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See also: URLs (3) 



56 Rules to Design By

Bob Bailey's December newsletter should be required reading by all. It consists of 56 design guidelines, all backed by quality research, with references!


  • Dec'02 UI Design Update Newsletter Open link in new window

Ron Zeno - January 07, 2003

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See also: Guidelines and Standards (15) 



Palm OS

This online book describes how to design applications for Palm Powered(TM) handhelds so that they conform to Palm, Inc's user interface guidelines. Read and use it if you are an interaction designer, application designer, or a developer and you are considering creating applications that run on Palm OS


  • Table of Contents Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - December 06, 2002

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See also: Online books (5)  Guidelines and Standards (15) 



14 Principles of Polite Apps

Human react to computers in the same way they react to other humans. If we want users to like our interactive designs, we should create them to behave like likeable persons. They should be polite and humble servants to us.

Alan Cooper has listed 14 principles to create accommodating designs. Some of his requirements for the polite system are:
- Be interested in me, recognize me, and know who I am and what I like
- Be deferential to me
- Keep me informed about what's going on but don't bother me with your personal problems
- Be self-confident - don't not pass responsibility off onto me
- Do not force choices on to me
- Don't be stubborn, be flexible
- Give instant gratification
- Be trustworthy and dependable

Cooper claims that polite designs are no harder to build than impolite ones. I don't agree with that. It takes effort to be polite and accommodating


Henrik Olsen - November 20, 2002 - via iaslash

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See also: Guidelines and Standards (15) 



How to create the best user experiences with Macromedia Flash

Flash is a very powerful tool, but is of no added value if the designer does not master the tool or the medium. Macromedia has the Usability Guidelines you've been looking for. Designed for the 21st Century Flash Designer q;)


  • Macromedia's Flash Usability Guidelines, Tips & Tricks, Examples, Cases, and Whitepapers Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - October 17, 2002

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See also: Flash (6) 



NN/g report on e-commerce search

NN/g has observed 64 US and Danish users attempting 344 search tasks on 20 US e-commerce sites. The users had a success rate of only 64% in finding what they wanted. The report offers 29 design guidelines. Some highlights:

- Provide a clearly visible search box on every page
- Provide a simple search, with one search box and one search button
- Accept synonyms, spelling errors and variant forms of keywords typically used by customers
- Accommodate multiple-word input
- Always include search criteria, scope and items found in search results page
- Beware of long search result lists, as only few users look past page 2 of search results
- Take the users directly to the item when a search returns only one matching result
- On the "No results" page, make it clear why the search failed, allow the user to begin a new search, and provide alternative ways of locating products
- Support search for non-product terms


  • The 51 pages report Search ($49) Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 09, 2002

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See also: Search (27) 



Should we abandon usability guidelines?

In the article "Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines", Jared M. Spool calls web usability guidelines into question.

In his opinion we can't assume that following guidelines will result in more usable sites if they haven't been tested properly in various contexts. Following such guidelines can even harm the usability of a site:

"This means that following untested guidelines is like drinking water from an unidentified source. It might quench your thirst, but it could also make you very ill."

The problem with guidelines is an old one in interface design and has been discussed intensively in the literature. Some of the most important conclusions here is, that usability guidelines has proven very useful, but they should be used with caution:

- Never use a guideline without considering its relevance in the context it will be applied to
- Never base your design choices solely on guidelines - use other methods to verify its usefulness
- Study how users interact with you designs


  • The article Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines Open link in new window
  • Lyle Kantrovich's comment to the article Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 01, 2002

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Guidelines and Standards (15) 


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