WWW design issues
First question in design: who are the users? What are their needs?
User friendly - Improving site usability
from BYTE (03/14/01) :
By Lynn Ginsburg and Josef Pusedu, WebTools
Usability is the practice of designing and
architecting websites to focus on the user's experience. The
International Standards Organization (ISO) official definition,
usability is "The effectiveness, efficiency, and
satisfaction with which users can achieve tasks in a particular
environment of a product. High usability means a system is easy
to learn and remember; efficient, visually pleasing and fun to
use; and quick to recover from errors."
Online shops: Online shoppers have
little brand loyalty. So when a user encounters an obstacle on
your site whether that be slow performance, confusing layout, or
dead-end links they're likely to bail straight into the arms of
Zona Research 5/01: about half of purchases were interrupted by
the client because of slow site.
Make a formal usability study, with a
Process of evaluating your site's
- first examine your underlying
- the way your site is organized,
- how the content is logically arranged,
- how your navigation scheme lets users
quickly find their way around
A simple, yet effective way to map out a
site's architecture is using paper mockups:
sticky notes, white boards
Analyze the logic of your site's
- Do your categories and resulting
subcategories make consistent sense?
- Could a subcategory fit better under a
different main category?
- Should a subcategory appear under two
- Or should two different subcategories
cross-reference each other?
Go With The User Flow:
- create paper-based user flows
- start to build out the individual
screens of your site,
- including all of the links, navigation
and widgets necessary to support a specific user task.
It can also help you to identify and
prioritize the most important tasks that a site visitor should be
able to accomplish easily (like successfully finding and buying a
product) feedback from real live users.
Make a script to test specific usability
issues on your site:
users run through the script - users
discover problems you may not be able to see because you're
too close to your own site.
Different audience types pose different
challenges for usability.
Opening page design
- design it like the cover of a magazine (or fill with current information?)
- do not clutter it with one-time
information, if you assume that people will come
many times to the page
- keep announcements concise
Design effective menus
- keep entries short
- divide if the list is long (more than 10 items)
- pick meaningful categories
- fit in one scrolling zone
- suggest sequence
- display only one or two levels at a time
- limit the number of levels
- distinguish different kinds of targets
- folders, feedback forms, presentation
- orient visitors: you are here
Accommodate different levels of technology
- do not squander bandwidth
- provide multiple versions (video,
animation, picture, voice, text only)
- avoid long texts: break up large areas
- many pages, paragraphs into lists,
- use standard "international English"
- spell out abbreviations
- the passive should be avoided
- avoid local expressions (zip code,
inside jokes, dollar signs, flags, ..)
- state dates clearly (09/09/08), also decimals
- use symbols with care (hand gestures,
religious symbols, colours, animals, ..)
- show proper respect when addressing
Let visitors choose what to download
- give size of file
- HTML/ PDF -printable format, page size
- avoid plug-ins
Created by: Jaana Holvikivi Updated: 25.10.2009