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Flash (6)  Download time (5)  Javascript (3)  URLs (3)  Browsers (3)  Web standards (2) 


The mobile web trouble users

A usability study by Jakob Nielsen shows that people using websites on their mobile phones suffer from old-time usability issues, such as slow download time, bloated pages, and difficulties using the browsers.

To improve usability of mobile web browsing, Jakob Nielsen recommends that big and rich sites provide different websites tailored to each type of mobile device on the market. Sites that need to serve mobile devices but can't afford building many different versions should supplement the main site with a single scaled-back mobile-optimized design, recognizing that it will serve high-end phones poorly.

The study reveals that people have problems with all kinds of mobile devices. Even the iPhone isn't perfect, though it is, as Jakob says, "the first mobile Internet device worth criticizing."


  • Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 17, 2009

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See also: Download time (5)  Browsers (3)  Research (130) 



Speed matters

At a conference, Greg Linden heard Marissa Mayer from Google speak about how a response time delay of half a second at Google Search resulted in a traffic and revenue drop by 20%. Also, when they rolled out a lighter version of Google Maps, there was a substantial boost in traffic.

Greg Linden has experienced the same thing at In a test they found that even very small delays would result in substantial and costly drops in revenue.

Apparently, speed - in terms of milliseconds - matters.


  • Marissa Mayer at Web 2.0 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 06, 2009

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See also: Download time (5) 



Download time doesn't impact on a site's usability

UIE keeps podcasting interesting interviews with Jared Spool. In this episode of the Usability Tools Podcast, Jared talks about a study that showed that a site's download time doesn't seem to impact on a site's usability. Instead, sites that are easy to use, fun and professional are perceived as being fast.

Apparently, people perceive time to take longer when they are in pain.


  • UIE Usability Tools Podcast: The Truth About Page Download Time Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 24, 2007

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See also: Interviews (30)  Audio and video (48)  Download time (5) 



Top Ten Web Design Mistakes 2005

It's time for Jakob Nielsen's Top Ten Web Design Mistakes. In 2005 Jakob has asked his readers about their opinion. Here's the result:

#1 Legibility problems due to small fonts and low contrast
#2 Non-standard links that violate common expectations
#3 Flash with no purpose beyond annoying people
#4 Content that is not written for the web
#5 Bad search
#6 Browser incompatibility
#7 Cumbersome forms
#8 No contact information or other company information
#9 Layouts with fixed width
#10 Photo enlargements that doesn't show the users the details they expect


  • The article Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 03, 2005

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See also: Forms (30)  Text (24)  Links (19)  Search (27)  Flash (6)  Browsers (3) 



Server side usability - How to make web servers behave

Most usability professionals don't have a driver's licence to servers and are not aware of the step that can be taken to make them behave in a user-friendly way. The GUUUI Q4 2004 issue takes a look at how to avoid that server technology becomes an obstacle to usability.

The article suggests that we should:

- Make the "www" prefix optional
- Support "www" prefix typos
- Support domain name typos and spelling errors
- Support erroneous country codes
- Use tidy URLs
- Don't leave users in a dead end when a page cannot be found
- Alert users when a server error occurs
- Have a "We are updating" page ready


Henrik Olsen - October 01, 2004

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See also: GUUUI articles (11)  Tips and guidelines (95)  URLs (3)  Error handling (7) 



Accessible pop-ups

Pop-up windows are prohibited by the WCAG accessibility standards. To quote:

"Until user agents allow users to turn off spawned windows, do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear


  • The article Accessible Pop-up Links Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 15, 2004

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See also: Accessibility (13)  Javascript (3) 



Speed Up Your Site

Jennifer Alvin from Digital Web Magazine reviews Andrew King's book Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization:

"Andrew King offers a variety of ways to trim the fat in common design elements, as well as tips for increasing server performance. No other book I've seen covers so many types of optimization in one place with such a thorough investigation of why the tricks work. The extensive technical explanations alone are worth the list price, and each is backed up with a step-by-step approach to making your site a speedy champion."


  • The review at Digital Web Magazine Open link in new window
  • Sample chapters at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 17, 2003 - via Digital Web Magazine's newsletter

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See also: Books (47)  Download time (5) 



User-friendly URLs

Often URLs are hard to type, remember and preserve, because they are littered with punctuation and identifiers that are irrelevant to us. Thomas A. Powell and Joe Lima show us how to design well-formed and user-friendly URLs.

Some highlights:
- Keep them short and sweet
- Use lower case
- Do not expose technology via directory names (e.g. /cgi-bin/)
- Avoid punctuation in file names (e.g. product_spec.html)
- Plan for host name typos (e.g. or
- Allow omission of the www prefix (e.g.
- Add guessable entry point URLs (e.g.
- Remove or rewrite query strings (e.g. posting.asp?postingID=313 to posting313.asp)


Henrik Olsen - April 13, 2003

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  URLs (3) 



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: Tips and guidelines (95)  URLs (3) 



iHotelier: Demonstrating the Potential of Flash for Web App Design

From a design perspective, creating a successful hotel reservation system can be one of the more complex user experiences.

Christine Perfetti (UIE) wrote about a Flash-based hotel reservation system that has recently caught attention: iHotelier.

It demonstrates how Flash-based applications can deliver users positive experiences, where HTML, DHTML and even sophisticated JavaScripting leave off.


Pieter-Jan Pruuost - December 12, 2002

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  Flash (6) 

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