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Web Design>Usability

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2D is Better Than 3D

Most abstract information spaces work poorly in 3D because they are non-physical. If anything, they have at least a hundred dimensions, so visualizing an information space in 3D means throwing away 97 dimensions instead of 98: hardly a big enough improvement to justify the added interface complexity.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1998). Design>Web Design>Usability


The $300 Million Button

It's hard to imagine a form that could be simpler: two fields, two buttons, and one link. Yet, it turns out this form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major e-commerce site, to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. What was even worse: the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2009). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Forms


About Us Information on Websites

We found a 9% improvement in the usability of About Us information on websites over the past 5 years. But companies and organizations still can't explain what they do in one paragraph.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing


"About Us" -- Presenting Information About an Organization on Its Website

Study participants searched websites for background information ranging from company history to management biographies and contact details. Their success rate was 70%, leaving much room for usability improvements in the 'About Us' designs.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing


Accessibility Arguments Revisited

Frontend has recently completed the delivery of the first version (1.1) of the Irish National Disability Authority (NDA) IT Accessibility Guidelines. In the course of our work for the NDA over the last year we’ve talked to a wide variety groups and individuals who have an interest in accessibility and as a result of their input, our approach has shifted a little. Here’s what we found out.

Poskitt, Henry. Frontend Infocentre (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Accessibility Is Not Enough

A strict focus on accessibility as a scorecard item doesn't help users with disabilities. To help these users accomplish critical tasks, you must adopt a usability perspective.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2005). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Accessible Forms

This document is concerned with what the user of a Website form "sees" and interacts with. It outlines how you can create forms for the Web that are more accessible and describes the appropriate use of.

Hudson, William. Webusability (2004). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Forms


Accountability of Accessibility and Usability

Focus on your users, all of them. Learn from mistakes currently made on the Web. If a user can't fill out a form, they can't buy anything from your site. People turned away by unusable sites will probably try a competitor's site. Don't be the site that turned people away. Make your Web site as usable and accessible as possible. It's the business savvy thing to do. It's the right thing to do. If you don't, someone just might force you legally to do it or threaten to sue.

Pavka, Anitra. Digital Web Magazine (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Aesthetics and Usability: A Look at Color and Balance

As websites continue to fight for the attention of potential users, designers must begin to look not only at the inherent usability of the site, but also its perceived usability. For instance, Tractinsky (1997) found a correlation between perceived usability and aesthetics when investigating ATM machines. Subjects based their overall opinion of the usability of the ATM on the 'look' of the machine. Moreover, in examining users' first impression of websites, Shenkman and Jonsson (2000) found that the best predictor for the overall judgment by typical users of a website was its beauty. Design principles are frequently utilized by graphic designers to create aesthetically pleasing websites. The term harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, or color. In visual experiences, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. Two design principles that influence harmony are balance and color. When a website is harmonious, it engages the viewer and creates an inner sense of order, a balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it becomes either boring or chaotic (Lauer & Pentak, 2002). According to Lindgaard (1999), color is a strong predictor in the overall appeal of a website.

Brady, Laurie and Christine Phillips. Usability News (2003). Design>Web Design>Usability>Aesthetics


Afraid So: Horrible Web Monstrosities

Here they come. Nightmare web sites that, from a usability perspective, are horrid monsters. When you're tired and in a hurry, you want a web site to quickly and easily provide relevant content to you, so you can solve a problem or perform some task. Discover common hideous impediments to web usability. WARNING: Not for the faint hearted!

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Web Design>Usability>User Centered Design


Against Non-Standard Link Colors

User tasks are carried out faster and better with sites that use standard link colors as opposed to non-standard.

Bohmann, Kristoffer. Bohmann Usability (2000). Design>Web Design>Usability>Color


AJAX Usability Metrics

A look at how to quantify or measure the benefits of a better user interface built with Ajax.

Charland, Andre. SlideShare (2006). Presentations>Web Design>Usability>Ajax


Alertbox #200

Jakob Nielsen has published 200 Alertbox columns on the Web since 1995; in addition to promoting usability, the column's readership statistics validate the practice of archiving content.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Articles>Usability>Web Design


(Almost) Never Add a Reset Button to a Form

Next time you consider adding a reset button to a form, think it through very carefully first. Does the user really benefit from being able to reset the form? Is being able to reset the form to its initial state so valuable that it is worth the risk of the user losing the data they have entered? Probably not.

456 Berea Street (2009). Articles>Web Design>Forms>Usability


Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die

Ordinal sequences, logical structuring, time lines, or prioritization by importance or frequency are usually better than A–Z listings for presenting options to users.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2010). Articles>Information Design>Web Design>Usability


An Alternative to Banner Ads

Banner ads are not a particularly useful way of getting people to 'click', but inserting a plain vanilla link just might be.

Baker, Adam. Merges.net (2001). Design>Web Design>Marketing>Usability


Altruistic vs. Narcissistic Web Sites

Users are repulsed by web sites that are narcissistic, egotistic, corporate-speak, hard to understand, and difficult to use. Users are attracted to and enjoy web sites that are altruistic, user-prioritized, user-focused, easy to understand, easy to use, and full of fresh, relevant content.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Usability


Amazon, You Just Lost $82.62

The purpose of this article is to openly display my disgust with Amazon and to discuss the implications. On Monday, 11-June-2000, I ordered a gift certificate from Amazon.com. I was going to use the certificate for Father's Day, however Amazon failed to send the certificate in time. So, I drove to Barnes and Noble, bought some books, and bought a gift certificate. Amazon just lost $82.62.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (2001). Design>Web Design>Usability>E Commerce


Amazon: No Longer the Role Model for E-Commerce Design

Many design elements work for Amazon.com mainly because of its status as the world's largest and most established e-commerce site. Normal sites should not copy Amazon's design.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2005). Design>Web Design>E Commerce>Usability


Are Standards-Compliant Websites Better?

The adhoc way in which much of the web was developed has created a dilemma for web designers: should websites comply with standards, ensuring accessibility, or break the rules and work with older browsers? At this moment, the answer is simple: Websites should work with older browsers.

Baker, Adam. Merges.net (2001). Design>Web Design>Standards>Usability


Are the Product Lists on Your Site Reducing Sales?   (PDF)

You can increase sales on your site as much as 225% by offering sufficient product information to your customers at the time they need it. One way to do this is to develop product lists that don't require shoppers to bounce back-and-forth between the list and individual product pages.

User Interface Engineering (2004). Design>Web Design>Usability>E Commerce


Are There Users Who Always Search?

Web designers often tell us that they spend a great deal of their limited time and resources working to improve their on-site search engines because, they believe, there are some people who always rely on the search engine to reach their target content. They find further support for this assumption from Jakob Nielsen who, in his book, 'Designing Web Usability,' asserts that more than half of all users demonstrate 'search-dominant' tendencies by going right to the search engine when they first visit a web site looking for content.

User Interface Engineering (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability>Search


Are You Creating a Path of Resistance?

I've been watching people type in web site addresses for a long time now. However, I only started watching people closely about 4 weeks ago. I recorded 75 observations of people typing in URLs in the address bar (I kept a notepad with a running tally). I'll be the first to admit that this was not scientific and, as you might guess, I was acting in a biased manner. Nevertheless, I think the results are somewhat useful as a starting point. I found that in about 20 of the 75 observations, when people typed in a new URL they first tried the address without the 'www'. So, my findings indicate that about 27% of the time, users did not use the 'www'.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (1999). Design>Web Design>Usability


Are You Satisfied with Online Shopping?

How many of you use the Internet to order merchandise? Many consumers are choosing the Internet to order merchandise rather than brave the crowds and traffic snarls at shopping malls. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but the order process and ease of use varies from one web site to another. The often-confusing process is enough to make you bail out and shop elsewhere. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, 'E-tailers Try to Keep Shoppers From Bolting at Checkout Point,' (1) usability, technology, and e-commerce issues are stopping shoppers from completing their purchases. The article states that about 65% of shoppers bail out at the checkout point. Poor design has cost E-tailers over $6.1 billion in potential sales.

Dick, David J. Usability Interface (2001). Design>Web Design>Usability


Are Your Online Forms User-Friendly?

A poorly designed form always reduces your chances for getting a sale or gaining a qualified lead. This article discusses the merits of a good form and the pitfalls of bad forms. It offers advice and tips on how to increase your success rates by making your forms more user friendly.

Raspberry Frog (2007). Articles>Web Design>Usability



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