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Use summaries on blog front pages

What's the best layout for a blog front page? To show full articles or to show summaries of the latest post?

According to research done by Jakob Nielsen, using summaries works best with blogs that people don't visit every day. They are better at drawing readers in as they offer a broader selection of subjects and increases the likelihood that they will find something that interests them.


  • Corporate Blogs: Front Page Structure Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 10, 2010

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See also: Web page design (41)  Text (24)  Research (130) 



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!)"


  • 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)  Expert reviews (11) 



The evil of dropdown, flyout and pop-up menus

I this podcast, Jared Spool and Brian Christiansen discuss how hiding links in slick dropdown, flyout, or pop-up menus hurts the user experience.

The problem with these menus is that if people are looking for something specific, hiding their options isn't very helpful. Also, many of the menus require us to use awkward movements to make our selections.

So what to do instead? According to Jared, we should help users find what they are looking for by creating home pages and sections with visible options.


  • Usability Tools Podcast: Mouseovers in Navigation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 25, 2007

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See also: Audio and video (48)  Sections (8)  Navigation (63) 



Jared Spool on how to design home pages

In the first episode of the weekly UIE Usability Tools Podcast, Christine Perfetti interviews Jared Spool about his thinking on home page design.

In the podcast, they discuss:
- Why a site's home page is actually the least important page on your site
- How the most successful designs focus on understanding users' main goals and tasks
- How "link-rich" home pages can help your users find their content
- How the most successful home page designs focus on driving users to the most important content pages
- Why users spend little time on the best home pages


  • Usability Tools Podcast: Home Page Design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2007

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See also: Audio and video (48)  Interviews (30) 



Jared Spool on why good content must suck

Hear Jared Spool talk about how to design websites that suck people towards the content they want.

Everyone with the slightest interest in website design should listen to this. Jared is the most knowledgeable usability guy of modern time and in his talk he manages to cover most of his pet topics:

- How people need scent (links containing the words they have in mind) to get to what they are looking for
- How the best links are 7-12 words
- How people don't mind clicking through lots of pages if they just get what they want in the end
- How people love to scroll long pages
- How people love link-rich pages
- How people turn to search engines only when navigation fails

Download the two MP3 files and the presentation slides.


Henrik Olsen - September 27, 2006

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See also: Audio and video (48)  Links (19)  Navigation (63)  Talks and presentations (18) 



How to encourage users to scroll long pages

Studies by UIE show that users have nothing against scrolling long web pages. But pages that appear as if there is nothing below the fold makes people think that there isn't anything to scroll for.

According to Jared Spool, this problem can be solved by cutting of pages at the bottom of the browser window, so that only the top part of the content is visible. This communicates that there is more to see and makes it more likely that people will scroll for the rest of the content.


  • Utilizing the Cut-off Look to Encourage Users To Scroll Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 14, 2006 - via Column Two

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See also: Web page design (41) 



Users love link-rich home pages

Clients want their home pages to be simple. This is often translated into "has to hold as few links as possible."

Jared Spool from UIE argues that exposing people to the content of a site enhances simplicity. With a good design, the upper limit of links is much higher than one might think. Sites with up to 700 links on the home page have proven to work very well for its audience.

But populating a page with every possible keyword won't do the trick. The secret is clustering:

"Users look at each cluster and quickly decide whether the cluster is likely to contain their content or not. By focusing on just one or two clusters, the user winnows down their choices to just a handful of links."

If we don't make the clusters right, user won't succeed. Learning how users think about the content requires research, iterative design, and testing.


  • Lifestyles of the Link-Rich Home Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 15, 2006

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Simplicity vs. capability (7)  Navigation (63) 



The ten most violated Jakob Nielsen design guidelines

Jakob Nielsen has made a top ten on usability principles from his book Homepage Usability which are most frequently violated:

1. Emphasize what your site offers that's of value to users and how your services differ from those of key competitors.
2. Use a liquid layout that lets users adjust the homepage size.
3. Use color to distinguish visited and unvisited links.
4. Use graphics to show real content, not just to decorate your homepage.
5. Include a tag line that explicitly summarizes what the site or company does.
6. Make it easy to access anything recently featured on your homepage.
7. Include a short site description in the window title.
8. Don't use a heading to label the search area; instead use a "Search" button to the right of the box.
9. With stock quotes, give the percentage of change, not just the points gained or lost
10. Don't include an active link to the homepage on the homepage.


  • The article The Ten Most Violated Homepage Design Guidelines Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 15, 2003

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See also: Site design (14)  Guidelines and Standards (15)  Research (130) 



Homepage real estate allocation

According to Jakob Nielsen, only 39% of the space of web site front pages is used for areas of user interest (when including browser tool bars and borders). In a study, the following use of browser real estate was found:

- Unused: 20%
- Navigation: 20%
- Content of interest to users: 20%
- Operating system and browser overhead: 19%
- Self-promotions (ads for the site's own stuff): 9%
- Welcome, logo, tagline, and other site identifications: 5%
- Filler (useless stock art, such as "smiling ladies"): 5%
- Advertisements: 2%

I especially like the "Filler (useless stock art, such as "smiling ladies")". This is properly what others would call "graphic design" or "branding" elements.


  • The article Homepage real estate allocation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 10, 2003 - via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox Announcement List

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Research (130) 


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