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Thread: Website Usability

  1. #1
    I Love $$$ rjlstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Website Usability

    Main Jist

    Make a website that is...
    1.) Self explanatory
    2.) Use simple words
    3.) Make obvious if someting is clickable or not
    4.) Websites shouldn't need instructions

    How Users Surf the Web

    1.) They skim through; don't read all words
    2.) Only read words of interest
    3.) They don't pick the best link; They pick the first link of their interest
    4.) Don't make users have a hard time choosing things.
    5.) Users don't read instructions; they try whatever it is first
    6.) Sometimes they use tools on sites the way you didn't intend it to be used. (Some surfers think yahoo's search engine is where you type in URLs for the whole web)

    Billboard Design

    1.) Important things are larger, bolder, distinctively colored, set off by more white space, and nearer to the top of a page
    2.) Things that are related logically are also related visually
    3.) Things are nested visually to show what's part of what
    4.) Visually present a hierarchy so people don't have to think "what belongs to what"
    5.) Use conventions, don't re-make any. (IE calling a shopping cart a bag-o-buy) (Reinventing the wheel)
    5.) Break of pages into clearly defined areas
    6.) Make obvious what's clickable

    Omit needless words

    1.) A website should have a low amount of text
    2.) To help reducing it... Remove half of the words on your page you originally were going to have
    3.) Minimise having users to scroll
    4.) Take out happy talk (In intros and overviews) (People don't read them)
    5.) Take out instructions, because everything on your site should be self explanable

    Designing Navigation

    1.) Sort things well in each section of a site
    2.) Put search engines on your site
    3.) Always have a link to the home page on all pages
    4.) Don't get users lost - have good navigation
    5.) Need site hiearchy presented visually
    6.) Use navigation conventions, don't create new ones (Search-o-rama for search)
    7.) All sites should have a site ID, home link, section links, and serach box
    8.) Do not keep your persistent navigation on the homepage or on forms. On forms all you want is the user to fill out the form.
    9.) Always have site ID/ logo on all pages
    10.) Logo should have distinctive font
    11.) Have utilities in navigation like: home, serach, how to buy, contact, FAQ, info, etc...
    12.) Use only 4 to 5 utilities
    13.) Give lower level navigation the same attention as the top. Don't break down your persistent navigation in the lower levels.
    14.) Every page needs a title, title needs to be prominent, needs to math content on site (When users click a link named "potatoes" they don't want to go to a page called "baked potatoes with farts on it"
    15.) Highlight or show where on the navigation system the user is. (Change color, have pointer, highlight background)
    16.) Use breadcrumbs (You are here > home > sections > sebsection > here) Put them on the top of the site, use > in between levels, use smaller font size, boldface last item
    17.) Tabs are a very good navigation system. They are self-evident, they are hard to miss, they are slick, they suggest a physical space.
    18.) Amazon.com's tabs are good. They are drawn correctly, they load fast, they have roll-overs, they're color-coded, and one is pre-selected when you enter the site.

    Designing the Home Page

    1.) Make first page they go to
    2.) Site identity and mission
    3.) Show site hiearchy
    4.) Have serach box
    5.) Teases - promos
    6.) Timeley content - update much
    7.) Ad space - Home page gets many more hits than other pages
    8.) Have some short-cut links
    9.) Registration material (if site needs it)
    10.) Show user where to start surfing. Here's where to start if... I want to serach, I want to browse, I want a sample of their best stuff.
    11.) Establish crediblity and trust (Homepage is their first impression)
    12.) Things displayed on homepage get much more traffic than other pages, so show your proudest work on it
    13.) Have minimal scrolling (make site short)
    14.) Convey the big picture. What is this? What can I do here? What do they have here? Why should I be here- not somwhere better?
    15.) Need to say the obvious; might be obvious to you but not obvious to surfers.
    16.) Have tagline next to logo. Clear and informative. 6 to 8 words. convey differentiation and clear benefit. Don't be generic/ cliche/ cheezy.
    17.) Have welcome blurb
    18.) Mention main features; not all
    19.) Homepage navigation can be unique
    20.) Logo is much bigger on homepage than on other pages.
    21.) Rotate your stock - rotate promos on home page each time a user goes to it.

    Don't put on homepage

    1.) Don't put big ads and affiliates on hompage. Because you want the user to scroll the least on the homepage.
    2.) Don't over promote too many things on it
    3.) Don't overcrowed with affiliate banners.
    4.) Don't ask for personal data.
    5.) Don't force users to register before surfing.


    1.) Don't use roll-overs. You have to seek them out, you can only see one at a time, and they're twitchy
    2.) Don't use pull-downs. Same troubles as roll-overs. Only effective for alphabeticall lists. Don't use for anything else!

  2. #2
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    some of this is ok, some is not.

    were you looking for comments ??

  3. #3
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    You know where
    It's all well and good making a big list like this, but usability is easy to define. If a novice user can get in there, access the desired info and get out without breaking into a cold sweat, then you have acheived a fundamental level of usability.

    To go beyond that would be to go beyond the accepted boundary definition of uasability. For example, perhaps your GUI is a cryptic conglomeration of shapes without explanation. Well, if pro surfers can still figure out how to navigate, then that's fine if they're your target audience, but you've left the concept of usability way, way behind, despikte the fact that your GUI is 'usable'.

    (read the remainder at your own discretion - I use my own site as an example and I do not wish you to view/not view the work unless you are self-motivated to do so)
    On my site for example, the design, I hoped, was of a level of usability that most basic users would find easy, but with a level of interest beyond that of click-and-go. I defined it as 'complex simplicity'. Now, maybe I'm satisfied with the product, but I have had more comments about this version than all my other Hurricane sites combined. Most of them negative. Not flashy enough, too basic, your design sucks etc. The fact that it is usable has been lost on these observers, the fact that it takes mere moments to download has been completely ignored. So, to make the point, I think that it is uasable and for my inept customers, both current and potential, I think they will appreciate that.

    But for design as whole? Usability is pants.
    Stand by for emergency synapse rerouting

  4. #4
    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Houston, TX
    get someone computer illiterate to try and navigate it, like a friend, mother or little kid. tell them to just look around it and see how long it takes for em to get used to it. also try saying something like, "try to find my resume" and see how long that takes. if they get confused and look at you, you might need to rework it.

    thats my basic principle to designing a sites interface. but target audience matters. so test it on ppl you think would be viewing it. but i always like the computer illiterate to try just to make sure anyone can use it. i mean just b/c theyre not your target, doesnt mean you dont want them viewing it. they may become your target later. just make sure its easy to understand
    Bill Erickson: resume | portfolio
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    Great Designs for $100

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