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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

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Web page design (40)  Home pages (9)  Research (129) 



Bad usability hinder donations

Jakob Nielsen has conducted a large-scale usability test that shows that non-profit organizations lose out donations because their fail answer donor's questions about what the organization stand for are and how they use donations.

Key findings:
- 47% of the usability problems were about people having problems with finding critical information
- 53% were content issues, including unclear or missing information and confusing terms
- On 17% of the sites, the test participant couldn't find where to make a donation
- The participants had few problems in completing the actual donations


  • Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 30, 2009

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See also: Navigation (63)  Research (129) 



User's read only 20% of what we write

Based on studies of user's browsing habits, Jakob Nielsen estimates that people, on average, read 20% of a web page.


  • How Little Do Users Read? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 07, 2008

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See also: Research (129) 



Use passive voice in headings, blurbs, and lead sentences

"Use active voice" is one of the key web-writing guidelines. But according to Jakob Nielsen, passive voice let us front-load important keywords in headings, blurbs, and lead sentences. This enhances scannability and search engine optimization.


  • Passive Voice Is Redeemed For Web Headings Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 23, 2007

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See also: Search engines (7)  Tips and guidelines (95) 



Introductory text should explain the purpose of a web page

According to Jacob Nielsen, the filler text and platitudes found at the top of many web pages should be replaced with text explaining the pages' purpose:

- What will users find on this page, what's its function?
- Why should they care, what's in it for them?


  • Blah-Blah Text: Keep, Cut, or Kill? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 01, 2007

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Web page design (40) 



Words such as folksonomy, blog, and wiki make people shudder

According to a survey of 2,091 adults, words such as "Blog", "netiquette", "cookie" and "wiki" have been voted among the most irritating words spawned by the Internet.

On the top five most hated words was:

1. Folksonomy (collaborative classification of information)
2. Blogosphere (collective name for blogs)
3. Blog
4. Netiquette (etiquette on the internet)
5. Blook (book based on blog)


  • Blog, cookie, wiki top list of hated Internet words: poll Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 22, 2007 - via Adaptive Path

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Instructions in form design

According to Mike Hughes, putting instructional text in the beginning of a form doesn't work. People prefer doing over reading. Our attention is easily drawn to action objects, such as text fields and buttons, causing us leapfrog over instructions.

Mike Hughes gives the following recommendations:
- Divide dense instructions up for individual action objects
- Put the appropriate instructions in close proximity to their respective action objects
- Place the instructional text next to the corresponding action object-preferably, in the downstream direction, to the right or just below it
- If the instructional text is too long, provide a link that dynamically displays a pop-up or pane when a user clicks it.


  • Instructional Text in the User Interface: Some Counterintuitive Implications of User Behaviors Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 12, 2007

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Forms (30) 



How to you turn scanners into readers

Jessica Neuman Beck has written a nice little piece on how turn scanners into readers by making copy easy to process.

Here's her advice:
- Give your words some breathing room by increasing your margins and choosing short, concise paragraphs
- Organize information into sections with headlines to make it easy to decide which section to read and which can be skipped
- Break up your pages using relevant images and illustrations
- Use pull quotes to highlight important lines of text
- Include descriptive blurbs below headlines to explain what the text is about
- Use icons to denote certain site elements and break up text-heavy pages
- Style links in such a way that they're easy to recognize even to the people who aren't reading the copy
- Use lists that distill information to its essence


  • Does Your Copy Hold Up To A Quick Glance? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 28, 2007

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95) 



Eight usability problems that haven't changed since 1997

Webmonkey has published an excerpt from Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger's new book Prioritizing Web Usability.

In the excerpt, they discuss eight issues that continue to be critical to usable web design:
- Links that don't change color when visited
- Breaking the back button
- Opening new browser windows
- Pop-up windows
- Design elements that look like advertisements
- Violating Web-wide conventions
- Vaporous content and empty hype
- Dense content and unscannable text


  • Excerpt from the book Prioritizing Web Usability Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 20, 2006 - via Usernomics

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See also: Books (47)  Tips and guidelines (95)  Research (129)  Links (19) 



Usability of newsletters and news feeds

In a study, Jakob Nielsen and NN/g have found that the usability of newsletters has increased since their last study in 2004.

Some of their findings:
- The ease of subscribing and unsubscribing newsletters has increased considerably
- Users are extremely fast at processing their inboxes
- In average the participants used 51 seconds reading a newsletter
- 19% of the newsletters where fully read
- 35% of the time, the participants only skimmed a small part of the newsletter
- 67% of the participants had zero eye fixations within the "introductory blah-blah text"
- Participants subscribed to the wrong newsletter format when they had to choose between "HTML" and "Text"
- 82% of the studied users didn't understand the term RSS (Jakob suggest we call them "news feeds").
- Users scan news feeds even more ruthlessly than newsletters

In Jakob Nielsen's opinion e-mail newsletters are still the best way to maintain customer relationships.


  • Email Newsletters: Surviving Inbox Congestion Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 13, 2006

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See also: E-mails (3)  Research (129) 

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