Prioritizing Web Usability By Ja

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					                                   Prioritizing Web Usability
                              By: Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger



I.   Introduction
         a. Where they got their data
                  i. Tested 716 web sites with 2,163 users from around the world
                 ii. Conducting and writing research reports on special issues
         b. How they did the book study
                  i. Demographics
                         1. Tested 69 users (57 in US, 12 in UK)
                         2. Paid them $100 for participating
                         3. Ages 20-60
                         4. Broad range of job backgrounds and web experience
                                 a. No one was picked that was in marketing, web design, or
                                    technology fields
                 ii. Equipment Used
                         1. Windows machine, latest version of Internet Explorer, screen
                            resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, broadband connections
                iii. “Thinking Aloud” Method
                         1. One at a time, each user was observed by a few people who sat
                            behind them while they browsed the Web
                         2. They were told to say all their thoughts aloud
                         3. The users were also videotaped
                iv. Site-Specific Testing
                         1. Range of genres of websites
                         2. Didn’t pick a company so they could intentionally “bash” them
                         3. Examples:
                                 a. Large Companies: Nestle, United States Postal Service
                                 b. Medium Companies: Pixar Animation Studios, BankOne
                                 c. Small Company: Black Mountain Bicycles
                                 d. E-commerce: Bath & Body Works, Whistler Blackcomb
                                    Mountains
                                 e. Government/Non-profit: American Heart Association, SSA
                 v. Study
                         1. Scavenger hunt
                                 a. Users had to go to different sites and find specific information
                                          i. Ex: “Go to www.pixar.com and see if you can find out
                                             how they came up with the movie Monsters, Inc.”
                         2. Web -wide tasks
                                 a. Users were given a range of tasks and could go anywhere on
                                    the web they pleased in order to accomplish them
                                          i. Ex: “A good friend complains about throbbing pain
                                             that usually radiates from one eye to the forehead,
                                             temple, and cheek. What might your friend be
                                             suffering from?”
              vi. Purpose: Asses how well sites support the most typical goals users have
                   when visiting them
       c. Why Do I Need to Do User Testing?
                i. Usability Guidelines are based on 3 levels of research
                       1. General user behavior across most Web sites
                               a. What this book mostly focuses on
                       2. Specialized findings about specific genres of sites or areas of sites
                               a. What reports on their website focus on
                       3. Detailed findings about a specific site and its customers
                               a. What only you can discover from your site
               ii. The Exceptions
                       1. The guidelines in this book apply to the majority of cases, but not to
                           every situation
                       2. Majority of this book will apply to about 80% of your website
                               a. You don’t need to follow every guideline
              iii. In Conclusion
                       1. This book condenses thousands of findings into a small number of
                           key principles
                       2. By the end of this book, you should know what works and what
                           doesn’t work on your website
II. The Web User Experience
       a. “You have less than two minutes to communicate the first time a prospective
          customer visits your Web site. This is the basic fact about the Web experience: As far
          as users are concerned, every page must justify its claim on their time. If a page
          doesn’t do that immediately and clearly, they go elsewhere. Most don’t even bother
          scrolling to see what’s further down the page.” 21
                i. Average 27 seconds per page
       b. How Well Do People Use the Web
                i. People don’t fail that often because they go to sites they already trust and
                   can navigate (habitual)
               ii. Web-Wide Success Rates
                       1. Above-Average Usability: Users need to be able to perform 70% of
                           reasonable tasks on your site
                       2. Average Usability: Users need to be able to perform 66% of
                           reasonable tasks on your site
                       3. Abominable Usability: Users can only perform 50% of reasonable tasks
                           on your site
              iii. Success by Experience Level
                       1. Low Experience Users: those who have been online for no more than
                           three years, used Web for less than 10 hours per week, didn’t show
                           many advanced behaviors, asked someone else to fix their computer
                           problems, and knew little about technology
                               a. Had a lower success rate
                       2. High Experience Users: those who had been online for more than four
                           years, were on the Web for over 10 hours per week, showed
                           advanced behavior, and were a source of tech advice for others
                               a. Had a higher success rate
       c. How People Use Sites
  i. The Home Page
         1. In the book study, low and high experienced users spent an overall
             average of about 30 seconds on the homepage
         2. Communication Goals for the “30 Second” Window
                 a. Users need to know what site they have arrived at
                 b. Users need to know what benefits the organization offers
                     them
                 c. Users need to know something about the company and its
                     latest products or new developments
                 d. Users need to know their choices and how to get to the most
                     relevant selection for them
         3. Other Facts to Know
                 a. When searching for your site, 40% of users usually land on the
                     homepage first and then navigate elsewhere
                 b. Having 10-20 words on your homepage is realistic, taking time
                     spent by a user on your homepage into consideration
                 c. Only 23% of users scrolled the homepage and they usually
                     won’t go back to the homepage after their initial visit
                 d. The main goal of the homepage should be to have the users
                     understand the page enough to navigate elsewhere
 ii. Interior Page Behavior (The Deep Link)
         1. If a user enters your site through a deep link, they usually spend
             between 45 and 60 seconds on the page.
                 a. This is a longer amount of time than the homepage because
                     the users should be a place more directly related to their task
                 b. They generally read about 100 words on the page before
                     deciding where to go next
         2. Make sure to put your most important information in the “content
             area” of your webpage
                 a. When phrasing your content, make sure it is simple for your
                     target to understand
                 b. Most users don’t spend a lot of time in the header, footer, or
                     navigation columns
iii. Search Dominance
         1. The search engine has become the dominant tool for finding
             solutions
                 a. In the book study, when they let users go to any page they
                     wanted to find the solution to their task, 88% went directly to
                     a search engine first
                 b. Users and their needs are very diverse
                 c. Conclusion: the web’s strength comes from narrowly
                     targeted sites that provide users with highly specialized
                     information that they need or care about passionately
         2. The Rise of the “Answer Engine”
                 a. “Information Foraging:” the easier it is to track down new
                     resources, the less time users spend at each resource
                 b. Rather than looking for sites to explore and use in depth,
                     users now hunt for specific answers
3. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
       a. Book Study Facts
                 i. Users visited the first SERP 93% of the time
                        1. Most didn’t even bother reviewing the entire
                             page
                ii. Only 47% of users scrolled the first SERP
                        1. This means that only 53% of users saw only
                             what was “above the fold”
       b. Organic vs. Sponsored Links
                 i. Organic Link
                        1. Those that are naturally found on the
                             Web/SERP as the best matches with the user’s
                             query
                        2. Seen as “pure” and noncommercial
                                 a. The site didn’t pay to be listed
                                 b. The site won’t be charged if the user
                                     clicks on an organic link
                ii. Sponsored Link
                        1. Nothing but advertisements
                        2. Complete opposite of organic links
       c. Your website will be more likely to be used if it is within the
           top ten sites listed on the SERP
4. Using Keyword Pricing to Estimate Usability Improvements
       a. How Keyword Advertising Works
                 i. A company first considers how much it is worth to pay
                    to try to attract a visitor who is possibly interested in a
                    product/service associated with a certain related
                    keyword
                ii. The company then bids for the keyword and the
                    search engine usually displays the ads from the top
                    eight bidders
       b. Trends
                 i. The price for keyword advertising has shown a
                    distinct, upward trend
                ii. Future increases in keyword bids will be closely
                    related to improvements in Web site usability
       c. Calculating Keyword Pricing
                 i. Figure out the dollar value of one visitor to your
                    website ($4.00)
                ii. Bid for a keyword that will generate visitors (up to
                    $3.99)
               iii. Make profit
5. Scrolling
       a. When designing a Web page, make sure to present enough
           information above the fold to make them want to see what’s
           below it
       b. Users only scroll the homepage, on their first visit, 23% of the
           time
6. Complying with Design Conventions and Usability Guidelines
       a. Design Conventions
                i. Standard: 80% or more of Web sites use the same
                   design approach and users expect standard elements
                   to work a certain way because they always have
               ii. Convention: 50-79% of Web sites use the same design
                   approach and users expect standard elements to
                   work a certain way because that’s how things usually
                   work
              iii. Confusion: No single design approach dominates and
                   users never know what to expect
       b. The Importance of Standards
                i. Users know…
                       1. What features to expect
                       2. How these features will look
                       3. Where to find these features on the site
                       4. How to operate each feature to achieve their
                           goal
               ii. Users don’t…
                       1. Waste time
                       2. Miss important features
                       3. Get nasty surprises when something doesn’t
                           work
7. Information Foraging
       a. Developed by Stuart Card, Peter Pirolli, and colleagues at the
          Palo Alto Research Center
       b. Analogy of wild animals gathering food in order to analyze
          how humans collect information online
                i. Information Scent: Predicting a Path’s Success
                       1. Users estimate their hunt’s success by
                           assessing if their path exhibits cues related to
                           their outcome
                       2. “Information-vores” keep clicking and getting
                           deeper into a website as long as thy sense
                           they’re getting warmer to their scent
               ii. Diet Selection: What Sites to Visit
                       1. Make your site attractive to ravenous beasts
                       2. To do this you must:
                               a. Make your content look like a
                                    nutritious meal
                               b. Signal that it’s an easy catch
              iii. Patch Abandonment: When to Hunt Elsewhere
                       1. For informationvores, each site is a patch and
                           each site’s info is their prey
                       2. Moving between sites (prey) is easy, but its
                           best if users stayed put
                                                     3. If the site (parch) is all out of necessary info
                                                          (food), then switching sites (done by the prey)
                                                          is necessary
                                   c. Design Strategies
                                             i. Support short visits (be a snack)
                                            ii. Encourage users to return
                                           iii. Emphasize search engine visibility
III. Revisiting Early Web Usability Findings
        a. Introduction
                   i. They conducted their first user studies of web sites in 1994
                  ii. This chapter addresses the 34 main usability problem areas found from their
                      research between 1994-1999
                          1. Using skulls they rated each usability problem
                                   a. 3 skulls means that it is still a high impact problem
                                   b. 2 skulls means it has a medium impact problem
                                   c. 1 skull means it now is only a minor issue
                                   d. 0 skulls means it is no longer a problem
                 iii. There are three main reasons why usability has improved
                          1. Technology has improved
                          2. Users adapt to website designs
                          3. Designers refrain from the worst abuses
        b. 8 Problems That Haven’t Changed
                   i. Links that don’t change color when visited (3 skulls)
                          1. “The oldest usability guideline for any type of navigational design is
                              to help users understand where they’ve been, where they are, and
                              where they can go – their past, present, and future.” –page 60
                          2. Links are a key factor in the navigation process of a Web page
                          3. On sites that violate this, confusion happens
                  ii. Breaking the back button (3 skulls)
                          1. One of the fundamental principles of human-computer interaction is
                              giving users the opportunity to explore a site freely, secure in
                              knowing that they can escape any problems they may encounter
                                   a. The “undo” command serves this purpose
                          2. The back button allows you to navigate around the Web as much as
                              you want and never get truly lost because you can simply go
                              backwards
                          3. Back button is the 2nd most used feature on the Web
                          4. When the back button doesn’t work, it confuses users and makes it
                              harder to remember where they were last
                 iii. Opening new browser windows (3 skulls)
                          1. When users click a link, they usually expect a new Web page to
                              appear in place of the last
                          2. Designers say that they open new windows so they don’t lose visitors
                              to their site, but it’s a lost cause; if people really want to leave, they
                              will.
                          3. Usability problems
                                   a. It disrupts the expected user experience
                                   b. It pollutes the user’s screen with unwanted objects
                      c. It hampers the user’s ability to return to visited pages
                      d. It obscures the window the user is currently working on
                      e. It can make users believe that links are inactive because they
                            appear to have no effect, when in fact the info is just in a
                            different window
              4. Exceptions: PDF and Similar Documents (Word, PPT, etc.)
      iv. Pop-up windows (3 skulls)
              1. Users are annoyed by pop-ups and want to block them
              2. Users close pop-ups as fast as possible, often even before the content
                  has loaded. The fact that it is a pop-up is reason enough to close it.
       v. Design elements that look like advertisements
              1. Users exhibit “banner blindness”
                      a. Users generally dodge flashing banners
              2. Users have been conditioned to assume that all useful parts of Web
                  sites appear as plain text
              3. A common design element that looks too “flashy” is the buy button
      vi. Violating Web-wide conventions (3 skulls)
              1. Users gear their expectations for your site by what they have learned
                  to expect elsewhere
              2. One only has 1 minute and 49 seconds (on average) to convince users
                  that one is worth doing business with; don’t waste it on making them
                  struggle with a deviant user interface
      vii. Vaporous content and empty hype (3 skulls)
              1. A big problem is that companies don’t want to come clean and say
                  what they are doing in plainspoken language on their sites
                      a. It’s essential to quickly state what you are offering users and
                            what’s in it for them, so they don’t get confused or tune out
                            your descriptions
              2. The more concrete your text, the better your site will rank on search
                  engines
                      a. SEO is the No. 1 marketing technique for websites
              3. Using fluffy language doesn’t just hurt you while users are on your
                  site, it can prevent users from finding your site
              4. Useless content is one of the leading cause of lost sales
     viii. Dense content and unscannable text (3 skulls)
              1. The plain look of a page packed with text immediately turns off users
                  and makes them think they will have to work too hard to get what
                  they want
              2. An example of a typical usability problem is when the authors and
                  designers are too steeped in their internal culture to recognize the
                  huge gap between it and the larger world
              3. One needs to aim at 25% print word count and start with the
                  conclusion, so people who read only the first line or two of the page
                  get the main idea
c. Technological Change and its Impact on Usability
        i. Problems that have been reduced
              1. Slow download time
                     a. In past studies, this used to be one of the main complaints by
                         users
                     b. Many sites used to have bare-bone designs to enable fast
                         downloading pages
                     c. Now that the internet has faster connections, Websites don’t
                         have to worry about this as much
              2. Frames
                     a. These were one of the most incompetently designed
                         advances in Web technology
                     b. They used to break the back button and interfere with search
                         engines
              3. Flash
                     a. Problems in the Early Years
                               i. Encouraged gratuitous animation
                              ii. Stopped users from controlling their own destiny
                             iii. Let designers introduce their own scrollbars and other
                                   odd Web effects
                     b. Today, flash is still not recommended for any Website
                               i. People prefer predictable navigation
                              ii. Put it where it needs to be and don’t over-do it
              4. Low-relevancy search listings
                     a. In the past, most sites had miserable search capabilities
                     b. Now, Web sites are trying to have smooth, efficient search,
                         but it is still a problem
              5. Multimedia and long videos
                     a. Why it is more acceptable now
                               i. Bandwidth has increased sufficiently (its takes less
                                   time to download media)
                              ii. Technical quality of videos has improved
                             iii. Web producers have become better at designing
                                   multimedia for the Web
                     b. Still, video clips need to be a minute or less and only used if
                         absolutely necessary
              6. Frozen layouts
                     a. Users hate horizontal scrolling
                               i. Users expect vertical scrolling (it’s a design standard)
                              ii. Uses don’t want to have to worry about scrolling two
                                   ways (it interrupts their expectations)
                     b. This is not as big of a problem now because screens have
                         gotten bigger
                     c. “Liquid layout” is recommended
              7. Cross-platform incompatibility
                     a. Examples
                               i. Internet Explorer vs. Firefox vs. Safari vs. Opera
                     b. There are many different mediums to access a Web site and
                         not all features work on all browsers
d. Adaptation: How Users have influenced Usability
       i. Over years of Web exposure, audiences are slowly adapting to these
           problems:
               1. Uncertain clickability
                      a. In earlier studies, people didn’t know where to click because
                          there were no cues that the picture or word could be clicked
                          on
                      b. Now users know where to click and have learned the tricks to
                          Web sites
               2. Links that aren’t blue
                      a. It used to be that users expected links to be blue because that
                          meant they could be clicked
                      b. Now links are many colors
               3. Scrolling
                      a. Users still typically don’t like to scroll
                      b. Now they know that pages can be long and sometimes
                          scrolling is necessary
                      c. Web sites are making sure they keep all their important info
                          above the fold
               4. Registration
                      a. In early days, people didn’t trust sites with their info
                      b. Now Web sites don’t make people register to buy something,
                          but still registration is a hassle to for many users
               5. Complex URLs
                      a. There is no reason for URLs are several hundred characters
                          long
                      b. Now, Web sites have less than a million pages and should be
                          fine with URLs of 20-50 characters
               6. Pull-down and cascading menus
                      a. In the past, dynamic elements confused users
                      b. Now, users are used to more complexity
                      c. Web sites just need to watch out for confusing accessibility
                          problems
e. Restraint: How Designers Have Alleviated Usability Problems
       i. Problem areas where we have seen improvement in design are:
               1. Plug-ins and bleeding-edge technology
                      a. It used to be that sites lost customers if the user needed to
                          download yet another plug-in
                      b. Designers have now learned they can’t force new technology
                          on users
                      c. Improvements in technology have also helped out this area
               2. 3D user interface
                      a. Users find it very difficult to get 3D interfaces to show
                          products at good angles
                      b. Now, for the most part, 3D interfaces are history
               3. Bloated design
                      a. In the early years, pages packed with moving elements,
                          blinking lights, and poorly structured links were annoying for
                          users
                                 b. Now most sites have toned down this feature
                        4. Splash pages
                                 a. Splash screens give users a first impression that a site cares
                                     more about its image than their problems
                                 b. Now, they are almost completely gone
                        5. Moving graphics and scrolling text
                                 a. Users see this as useless and try to ignore it
                        6. Custom GUI widgets
                                 a. In the past, designers felt the urge to introduce their own
                                     design elements for standard dialogue elements like buttons
                                     and scrollbars
                                 b. Users expect scrollbars to look and act like scrollbars
                        7. Not disclosing who’s behind information
                                 a. Trust and credibility are major issues when users are on the
                                     Web
                                 b. Now, sites have “About Us” sections
                        8. Made-up words
                                 a. In the past, Web sites made up their own lingo to describe
                                     their services
                                 b. Made-up words also hurt search engine optimization
                                 c. Now, sites are using everyday language
                        9. Outdated content
                                 a. The problem is when users are offered something outdated
                                     as if it were new
                                 b. Sites aren’t being maintained very well
                        10. Inconsistency within a Web site
                                 a. Companies are now making a big push to present one face to
                                     the customer
                        11. Premature requests for personal information
                                 a. Websites need to learn to establish a relationship with the
                                     user before asking “personal questions”
                        12. Multiple sites
                                 a. Web sites need to keep all their information as part of the
                                     same site
                                           i. Web sites with links to many different sites that still
                                               relate to the actual company can get confusing for the
                                               user who is searching for a specific aspect
                        13. Orphan pages
                                 a. These are pages that have no links
                                 b. They are very uncommon now
        f. Assessing the Fate of Early Findings
                  i. The research shows that usability problems are 58% as bad as they once were
                 ii. Web designers still have a lot to learn and need to pay attention to what
                     works and what doesn’t
IV. Prioritizing Your Usability Problems
        a. What Makes Problems Severe
                  i. How Severe is the Problem?
                      1. High: Imposes an unacceptable cost and/or loss of business, either by
                         preventing people from using the site or by actively driving them
                         away
                     2. Medium: Cause users confusion and frustration, and cause sites some
                         lost business but not to the degree of high-severity problems
                     3. Low: Cosmetic or irritating but do not individually hurt business for
                         the site
             ii. Three Factors that Affect How Serious a Problem Is
                     1. Frequency: How many users will encounter the problem?
                     2. Impact: How much trouble does the problem cause to those users
                         who encounter it?
                     3. Persistence: Is the problem a one-time impediment to users or does it
                         cause trouble repeatedly?
      b. The Scale of Misery
              i. The combined severity points across all usability problems can be seen as an
                 estimate of the total misery of the Web user experience
             ii. These problems are severe, but don’t necessarily stop users from completing
                 a task
            iii. Usability Problems Found
                     1. 26% of people’s difficulties were related to “Findability”
                     2. 11% of people’s difficulties were related to “Search”
                     3. 62% of people’s difficulties were related to “Bad Design”
      c. Why Users Fail
              i. These problems are so severe they cause users to fail on a site by leaving it,
                 giving up on a task, or completing a task incorrectly
             ii. The five biggest causes of user failure are search, information architecture,
                 content, product information, and workflow
            iii. Design Problems Found
                     1. 27% were “Findability” problems
                     2. 19% were “Task Failures”
V. Search
      a. The State of Search
              i. Search Statistics
                     1. 56% of the time external search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and
                         MSN, succeed in giving the user the correct page options
                     2. 33% of the time internal search engines, for specific web sties,
                         succeed in giving the user the correct page options
             ii. Why Internal Search Engines should be Better
                     1. There is a smaller amount of pages than the entire web
                     2. Within a single Web site, you have a much better handle on the user’s
                         intent
                     3. You know what information is most important on your site and can
                         prioritize it accordingly
                     4. Conversely, you know what information is outdated and can give it a
                         lower placement
                     5. You have a controlled vocabulary and know what typing errors could
                         be made
                     6. You can trust your own information
                7. You don’t have to contend with spammers or sites that try to
                   manipulate a search engine to achieve a higher ranking than they
                   deserve
b. How Search Should Work
        i. Usability is about not only designing for good search, but for designing
           expected search
       ii. Don’t use a search button for a parametric search, unless you have an e-
           commerce site
      iii. Advanced search should be only a secondary option, not the main way for
           users to search
      iv. Don’t let your design mess with preconceived mental models
c. Search Interface
        i. The search interface is a text box where users can enter their queries and
           then press a search button to get answers
       ii. This interface should be on the top left or more preferably the top right of
           the page
      iii. The box should at least be on the home page, but ideally, every page on the
           site should have it
      iv. Query Length and Search Box Width
                1. Wider search boxes are better because they encourage users to type
                   longer queries and give users the chance to look over their typed
                   query which reduces typo errors
                        a. The recommended length for a specific website would be
                           about 27-30 characters long
                2. In the book study, 84% of the queries increased up to 22 characters
                   long
       v. Advanced Search
                1. The main guideline for this is to avoid it because it almost always
                   causes more trouble than its worth
                2. In the book study, only 1.2% of queries used any form of advanced
                   syntax (such as ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘but’)
                3. If one must use advanced search, they should relegate the user to
                   another page
                4. Scoped Search
                        a. This is when users only search a certain area of the site and
                           will not see results elsewhere
                        b. This type of search works best on a site that sells books,
                           music, or CDs
                        c. This is dangerous if the search is scoped by default or when
                           users think the item they are looking for is in one place, but its
                           really in another
d. Search Engines Results Page (SERP)
        i. The number one guideline suggested is to mimic the SERPs on the major
           Web-wide search engines
       ii. There is no need to number search results or annotate them with relevancy
           rankings because users start scanning at the top, seeing those as most
           credible, and work their way to the bottom of a SERP
       iii. Each search result should start with a clickable headline followed by a two or
            three line summary
                1. Headline is most important
                2. Summary should elaborate on the headline without repeating it
      iv. Best Bets
                1. SERPs don’t always have the best page for your query at the top of
                     the list
                2. In order to have a good page rank, you need to use keywords
                     frequently and have other pages link to your site
                3. You can tell the search engine on your site what pages to put on top
                     for important queries (best bets)
                4. Try to construct best bets for all frequent queries
        v. Sorting the SERP
                1. Usually the SERP should be sorted by relevance
                          a. There are some special circumstances where other sorting
                              criteria, such as date or price, would be acceptable
      vi. No Results Found
                1. This page needs to clearly state that no results were found
                          a. Don’t make the page blank, it will confuse users
                2. This page should help users modify their queries and get better
                     results
                          a. It should contain hints, and edit/ spelling correction features
                3. End this page with a link to your Advanced Search, if you have it
      vii. One Result Found
                1. List the results on the SERP, don’t direct users straight to the page of
                     this sole result
                          a. Users may want to modify their search
                          b. Users may get confused if no SERP is shown
e. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
         i. Users almost always turn to search engines for their problems, but almost
            never read beyond the first page
        ii. One should try to get their Web site ranked on the first page of results
       iii. Do not try black-hat methods
                1. Examples: cloaking, search spam, link farms, comment spam, or
                     domain repurposing
      iv. Do try white-hat methods
                1. Linguistic SEO
                          a. Speak the user’s language; they type search queries using
                              their own vocabulary
                                    i. This will attract their attention more than sites with
                                       complex headlines and words
                          b. Do “keyword” research to find out the main words users type
                              to query about your site
                          c. Methods for discovering user terminology
                                    i. Reviewing your search logs
                                   ii. User Testing
                                  iii. Listen in on customer support calls and read blogs
                2. Architectural SEO
                                  a. Ensure your pages can be indexed
                                            i. Make sure your text is text and not pictures of text
                                           ii. Don’t put information in multimedia formats that you
                                               want a search engine to find
                                  b. Have an appropriate linking structure to guide search spiders
                                      to your content
                                            i. Search engines discover pages on your Web site by
                                               following links encoded in plain HTML that can then
                                               be easily decoded to tell the spider where to look next
                                           ii. Make sure to have a clean path of links from your
                                               homepage to any page you want indexed in the
                                               search engines
                        3. Reputation SEO
                                  a. Search engines also give users results by placing heavy
                                      emphasis on the reputation of sites
                                            i. Make sure there are more links to the main page for a
                                               concept than to less important pages
                                           ii. Search engines give priority to heavily linked pages
                                  b. How to get a better reputation
                                            i. Make other sites link to you
                                           ii. Establish your site as high quality
                                          iii. Make your site one that is worth linking to
                                  c. Initiate an active outreach effort to get more links to your site
                                            i. Include links in all press releases
                                  d. Submit your site to online directories
                                            i. Example: switchboard.com
                                           ii. It might be worth paying for to get a boost in ratings
                v. If one is still having trouble getting on the first page, they can pay for ads
                        1. Search ads work because search engines are the one type of Web site
                             that people visit with a goal of finding their answer
VI. Navigation and Information Architecture (IA)
       a. Match the site structure to user expectations
                 i. Most sites are known as effective if they can efficiently direct people to the
                    right place and match user expectations
                ii. The more natural the design feels, the more likely users will come back to
                    your site
               iii. You want your site to make sense to the users, not to the creators
                        1. Know what “they” want and not what “you” want
                        2. Your company may organize things very different from how end-
                             users organize Web site information when they see it
               iv. Design your site with the input of your users
       b. Navigation: Be Consistent
                 i. Navigational elements are “stepping stones” to help people go to and from
                    certain areas
                ii. When navigation design changes, users have to spend their time figuring out
                    the Web site rather than finding certain information
         iii. Large Web sites have many sub-sites attached to them and they all need to
              have similar navigation techniques or users will be confused and quit
              searching
         iv. Users want to know that they can go anywhere on a Web site and not lose
              their way
c.   Navigation: Beware the Coolness Factor
           i. Main topics should appear at once so people can quickly skim through their
              choices
          ii. Waiting for navigation is a waste of time
         iii. “Avoid cute and fancy navigation. People despise it. Save your creative juices
              for those areas of your site that users actually care about.” –page 184
d.   Reduce Clutter and Avoid Redundancy
           i. Don’t duplicate categories or make them indistinguishable; it will only
              confuse users
          ii. Clearly feature something in one place
e.   Links and Label Names: Be Specific
           i. Keep link names brief and as specific as possible
          ii. Don’t make up words to be clever; users won’t understand them
         iii. Tighten up your links by starting with keywords and don’t be redundant
         iv. Example: Rather than linking to “more,” tell users what they’ll get “more” of
f.   Vertical Dropdown Menus
           i. These are a widely used navigational tool
          ii. Make menus short
                  1. The longer the menu list, the more likely users will lose their place or
                       get lost
g.   Multilevel Menus
           i. Use fly-out horizontal menus carefully
                  1. Don’t put too many levels on it
          ii. Operate under the rule: “The shortest distance between two points is a
              straight line”
                  1. Multilevel menus don’t follow this rule
         iii. Don’t make the menus temperamental to mouse movements
h.   Clickability Cues on Web Sites
           i. The standard idea for Web sites is to underline links and use blue as the color
              of choice
                  1. But blue doesn’t always have to be used
          ii. Bolded text indicates clickability
         iii. When a user puts the mouse over a certain area of the text, it should be
              highlighted to demonstrate clickability
         iv. Users perceive standard button shapes as clickable
          v. Make sure people know what is and is not clickable
i.   Direct Access from the Homepage
           i. One very successful design strategy is to place direct links on the homepage
              to a very small number of high priority operations
                  1. Direct links shorten the navigation process
          ii. Restrict the number of direct links on your homepage between 3 and 5
         iii. A long list of direct links can defeat other homepage goals
                  1. Reserve them for the most important user tasks
VII. Typography: Readability and Legibility
        a. Communication Design
                 i. Make sure people can read your text
                ii. Right typography and color schemes are important of good visual design
               iii. Bad design decisions
                       1. Text appears too small or fuzzy
                       2. Text is not easily resizable
                       3. Text color provides inadequate contrast with the background
                       4. Text is overshadowed by surrounding design elements
              iv. Four guidelines for Type
                       1. Use common fonts at above 10 points
                       2. Avoid busy backgrounds
                       3. Use black text on white backgrounds
                       4. Keep moving, all-cap, and graphical text to a minimum
        b. Body Text: The Ten-Point Rule
                 i. When choosing font sizes, its best to go larger
                       1. This keeps your Web site appealing to the majority of people
                ii. The minimum size you should have your font is at 10-point
               iii. Know that small font size is not the solution for fitting more content on a
                    page
                       1. More content will probably just drive people away anyways
                       2. Remember that “more is less;” as in more text means less reading
              iv. Small text only works in areas that people do not care about as much, such as
                    terms of use, copyright, and legal notices
                v. Age is not the issue
                       1. A common misconception is that small text is only a problem for older
                            aged people; this is not true
                       2. Teenagers like to scan Web sites that have larger text as well
                       3. Environmental factors, glasses, and contact lenses also affect
                            people’s visual levels
              vi. Planning for differences in hardware
                       1. Some people have high-end screens and other people have outdated
                            computer systems
                       2. Unless you’re designing for the higher-end users, then you need to
                            assume the majority of users have a poor monitor
              vii. Common screen resolutions
                       1. Most people’s computers have screen resolutions of 800x600 pixels
                            or 1024x768 pixels
                       2. Large monitors will increasingly become common in the future
        c. Relative Specifications
                 i. When setting text size, use a relative size scheme instead of a fixed type size
                       1. Ex: Instead of 14 point font, say font is 140% of size of text body
                ii. People don’t like it when sites are “one size fits all;” it is better if they can
                    make adjustments to fit their needs
               iii. Designing for vision-impaired users
                       1. If your site caters to people whose vision is not the best, then provide
                            an easy way for them to fix the text size to their liking
                                a. Use a resize feature
d. Choosing Fonts
        i. Choose fonts that your users will have on their computers
       ii. Two common font families
               1. Serif: these fonts have embellishments
               2. Sans Serif: these fonts are plain
                      a. This is best for Web site and is fastest to read
      iii. When in doubt, use veranda
               1. Use typefaces that are intended for online reading
               2. Veranda is the most readable online font, followed by Georgia or
                  Times New Roman
e. Mixing Fonts and Colors
        i. Fonts
               1. Limit number of font styles to three typefaces
               2. Assign different font attributes, such as bold, color, or size, to specific
                  typeface for emphasis
       ii. Color
               1. Have no more than four different colors
      iii. Text and background contrasts
               1. The right color contrasts ensures readability on your site
               2. Dark colors are best for text and desaturated colors are best for
                  backgrounds
                      a. Unless you are doing white text with a black background
               3. Avoid using similar colors for the text and background
               4. Be careful about using vibrant color combinations
               5. Don’t have busy backgrounds; plain and simple is the way to go
      iv. Common color blindness
               1. Statistic: 8% of men and 0.5% of women have color blindness
                      a. Red and green are the most common in color blindness
               2. Making colors pop
                      a. Use black and white or other colors that intensely differ
                      b. Provide secondary cues when you want to distinguish
                           important information
f. Text Images
        i. Sometimes text images are appropriate
               1. This is when they are used for snippets of text, such as buttons
       ii. Why text images are mainly problematic
               1. Graphics cause files and Web sites to load too slowly
               2. Graphics-based text is not searchable
               3. Graphical text is not selectable
                      a. You can’t put it in Microsoft Word or any other feature like
                           that
               4. Graphical text doesn’t scale
               5. Screen readers can’t readily read graphical text
g. Moving Text
        i. Associations of users
               1. Users are driven away by moving text
               2. Users get distracted and annoyed by moving text
                          3. Users associate moving text with advertisements and automatically
                             disregard it
                 ii. This type of text does not cater to people who are international, vision
                     impaired, or anyone else
                iii. Users want to read text at their own pace
VIII. Writing for the Web
       a. How Poor Writing Makes Web Sites Fail
                  i. If content is confusing, users are unable to complete basic Web tasks
                          1. Make sure the content on every page on your Web site is user friendly
                 ii. When sites have clear content, users will trust the site and return back to it
                iii. Don’t use industry specific terms on your Web site unless you are sure users
                     will understand them
                          1. Unfamiliar jargon turns users away
       b. Understanding How Web Users Read
                  i. Users look for the strongest visual cues that their answer is nearby and follow
                     that trail
                 ii. Write for the way people read on the Web
                          1. Match human behavior
                          2. Have optimum scannability and comprehension
       c. Writing for Your Reader
                  i. Be in touch with what your users interests and needs are
                 ii. Support text with relevant pictures or media to enhance interest
                iii. Use simple language
                          1. Using sophisticated language will not impress users
                          2. Most users prefer a conversational tone
                          3. Don’t overwrite
                iv. Tone down marketing hype
                          1. People are turned off by anything that is overly promotional
                          2. Credibility is important on the Web
                          3. Give users the simple facts and let them come to their own
                             conclusions
                 v. Summarize key points and pare down
                          1. Start with conclusion and then give supporting facts
                          2. Users usually feel more productive if they constantly go from link to
                             link, instead of staying at one page for a long time
                                  a. Layer content so as users keep clicking on links, they can get
                                      more in-depth content
       d. Formatting Text for Readability
                  i. Highlight keywords
                          1. Attract users to important areas of the page
                          2. Use boldface or colored text
                          3. Don’t emphasize too many items, it may cause confusion
                 ii. Use bulleted and numbered lists
                          1. Bulleted Lists: use when items require no real order
                          2. Numbered Lists: use for step-by-step instructions or sequenced items
                          3. Vertical lists are easiest to read
                iii. Keep paragraphs short
                          1. Break up content into small chunks
                        2. Short paragraphs are more welcoming than long, wordy paragraphs
                        3. People should be able to read the topic sentence and then decide if
                            the rest of the paragraph is worth their while
IX. Providing Good Product Information
       a. Show Me the Money
                 i. Price
                        1. This is the first thing users want to know about the product
                        2. Price shows the value of the item, if the item is within the users
                            budget, and if users are shopping in the right customer segment
                        3. If no price is shown, users assume the product is expensive
                        4. Price is key in product comparison
                        5. Price can guide buyers to the right place for their needs
                        6. Being straightforward about price helps give credibility to the
                            product and Web site
                ii. No excuses
                        1. Companies should not play tricks on customers, especially when it
                            comes to excuses about price
               iii. Disclose extra fees
                        1. Additional fees include tax and shipping costs
                        2. Users want to know what they are spending up front
       b. Win Customer Confidence
                 i. Describe the product
                        1. Mistakes include not sufficiently explaining the offering and not
                            having adequate images to show details of the product
                        2. Be concise, not too wordy, and write in the language of the users
                ii. Provide pictures and product information
                        1. Choose images that are relevant to and compliment the product and
                            text about it
                        2. Make it possible for users to enlarge pictures for a closer view of the
                            product they’re considering
                        3. When users ask for a larger picture, give them a larger picture
                        4. Be sensitive to people with low connections
               iii. Layer product pages
                        1. On the initial page, provide key points only
                        2. Provide links to other “layers” the user may want to know about the
                            product such as:
                                a. Product details, photos, FAQs, reviews, accessories, parts,
                                     coupons, manufacturer information, etc…
               iv. Display bona fides
                        1. Acknowledge awards and recognitions for your products and services
                                a. Gives credibility
                                b. Mention them with product and in “About Us” section
                        2. Feature favorable review quotes
       c. Support Comparison Shopping
                 i. Myth: Having as many product options on your Web page makes it have the
                    greatest flexibility
                        1. Follow the rule “less is more” instead
                        2. A few choices are better than overwhelming users
               ii. Put good comparison tables on your site to enhance user decisions
              iii. Refine and sort
                        1. If your Web page offers many categories and products, give users the
                             option to customize their search
      d. Support Sales with Quality Content
                i. Marketing hype and pushy sales tactics turn Web users off
                        1. Customers value good content
                                  a. Let the content speak for itself
               ii. Remember that search engines take users to deep links within your Web site,
                   not just your homepage
                        1. Have buttons that reference users to product pages
              iii. Have information articles
                        1. Enhances credibility
                        2. Helps customers differentiate between products
                        3. Provides information to support customer decisions
                        4. Contains key words that direct search engines to your site
X. Presenting Page Elements
      a. Three-Click Rule
                i. Says that any information on a Web site should be reachable from the
                   homepage in three clicks or less
               ii. This is a good way to respect users time
              iii. This rule does not apply to every Web site, especially large ones, and is not
                   the sole reason for user confusion
      b. Common Page Layout Mistakes
                i. Page not structured in prioritized order
               ii. Interactions overly complex
              iii. Related areas are not grouped close together
              iv. Elements not properly aligned to create order
               v. Elements not placed where people expect
              vi. Too many elements on a single page
      c. Should You Design for Scrolling?
                i. Users don’t scroll most of the time; design for limited scrolling
               ii. Users tend to look in the very middle of the page first
                        1. Then look for navigation options on the top of the page
              iii. The less you put on a page, the more likely users will see what they are
                   looking for
              iv. Rules of scrolling
                        1. People expect items to be in a certain place, they will either scroll to
                             find it or not look for it
                        2. White space at the bottom of the screen gives users the impression
                             that there is no more information left, and they won’t scroll
                        3. People interpret ad-like elements that appear immediately above the
                             fold as the end of the page because ads are usually placed in odd
                             spots
                        4. Placing indicators, like headers or content, that can be seen above the
                             bottom of the screen suggest there is more content below
               v. Certain situations encourage the scrolling feature, such as if you have a Web
                   site full of long articles
                        1.   It is better to scroll, than to keep clicking the “next” button too many
                             times
               vi. Avoid cramming content into small scrolling areas
                         1. This is like trying to make people read through a peep hole
        d. Guiding Users, Step by Step
                 i. When interactions require many steps, guide users through a linear process
                    that makes sense
                ii. People don’t usually care how much they click or how long it takes, as long as
                    each click or step brings them closer and closer to their goal
               iii. Don’t make people solve complex problems
               iv. Rule: If your site looks too burdensome, users will leave it
                v. Adding instructions where they really don’t need to be is unnecessary
        e. Keep Like with Like
                 i. Users look for related objects in the same area
                ii. If similar objects are not in the same area, users expect the items just don’t
                    exist or you don’t sell them
               iii. Put the input area close to the results area, so users will always have options
               iv. Don’t format forms sloppily
                         1. Fields shouldn’t appear scattered or disorganized
                         2. Make it clear what the form is for
        f. Satisfy Your Users’ Expectations
                 i. If you understand users’ expectations, you can give them exactly what they
                    need the way they want it
                ii. Don’t over-design, just simply place items where they are expected to be
        g. Using White Space
                 i. White space: the parts that don’t have any text or illustrations
                ii. White space helps put information into specific units
                         1. Visually crowded sites are too overwhelming
                         2. Provide enough space between information sections to relieve spatial
                             tension
               iii. Basic idea: Maximize space between groups and minimize space within
                    groups
XI. Balancing Technology with People’s Needs
        a. Use Multimedia When it Benefits Your Audience
                 i. The worst phrase that has emerged in design is “Skip Intro”
                         1. This is not good because the Web site is most likely pushing
                             something the user doesn’t want in their face by making them watch
                             a pointless video
                ii. Know how much interactivity is appropriate and which tools to use in the
                    different parts of your Web site is important
        b. Overcoming Barriers to Multimedia
                 i. Accommodate low-tech users
                         1. Many people either have or got passed down to them equipment that
                             runs slowly
                         2. Make sure you have alternative content for users who lack access to
                             multimedia
                         3. Use sound to complement your site, if necessary
                                   a. Also, make sure there is a text version of any audio as well
        ii. Design for your audience’s connection speed
                 1. Statistics show that almost half of Web users still have dial-up
                     Internet access and slow connection speeds
                 2. Connections can be slowed for many reasons, such as many servers
                     on a connection or bandwidth sharing
                 3. Optimize file sizes
                 4. Minimize downloading time
                         a. Long responses can be dooming
       iii. Provide a simple and accurate loading-status indicator
                 1. This can minimize people’s impatience if they are provided visual
                     feedback into how long their download will take
                 2. Keep the design simple
                 3. Show the actual percentage
       iv. Underestimate your users’ technical knowledge
                 1. Most people veer away from downloading anything they don’t
                     understand for fear that it might be a virus
                         a. Don’t count on people to download new plug-ins
                 2. If you absolutely need users to download a plug-in, make sure it is
                     common on most machines
                         a. Pick a version that’s one iteration behind
                 3. Best solution: Provide non-multimedia content alternatives
        v. Detect users’ bandwidth
                 1. Don’t require users to select bandwidth
                         a. Most users don’t know what that means or how to find out
                             what it means
                         b. If users have to select bandwidth, they typically guess
                 2. Measure bandwidth by figuring out the users connection speed in the
                     back end and then setting a cookie value matching it
                 3. Automatic bandwidth detection is still posing difficulties with current
                     technology
                 4. Aim low when guessing bandwidth
c. Stick to Familiar Interface Conventions
         i. Users already have preconceived ideas about how the Web should work
        ii. If your interface isn’t working right, don’t defend it against users… fix it
       iii. Don’t put complicated technology on your Web site
                 1. Just because you understand it, doesn’t mean your users understand
                     it
       iv. People resist new technology interactions because they don’t like working
            harder than they have to
        v. Stick with what people know and keep design simple
                 1. Example: Don’t use scrollbars that don’t look like scrollbars
       vi. If you are modifying your Web site, consider usability implications
      vii. Rule: The further you veer away from the norm, the more confusing users will
            be
                 1. This may lead to loss of audience on your site
d. Avoid Multimedia Excesses
         i. Only use multimedia when it adds substantial value to your site
        ii. Good Examples
                       1.     When teenagers like a particular brand, the Web site of this brand
                              could have someone of that age group give a video testimonial
                           2. White house virtual tours are popular
                iii. Turn Down the Volume
                           1. Sound and animation can be very effective if used correctly
                                   a. Example: If an answer is right or wrong, the appropriate
                                        sound can come on
                           2. Sound and animation are frequently used to attract attention
                                   a. Don’t put blinking animations and moving elements all over
                                        your site, it will confuse and frustrate users
                                   b. Too many sound effects are distracting
                           3. Avoid audio rollovers
                                   a. Give users control over sound and playback
         e. Make Videos for the Web
                  i. Produce and edit videos so they are ready for online use
                 ii. Break clips up into small compelling segments
                iii. Most video clips should be less than a minute long
                           1. Eye-tracking study showed that users attention is diverted after 24
                              seconds
                iv. Give users control over the video features, such as playback and rewind
         f. The Practice of Simplicity
                  i. It is very difficult to create a simple design
                           1. Paring designs with important elements, all while making the Web
                              site usable and attractive, is a difficult balance to find
                 ii. Good designers get the maximum use out of limited space by only showing
                     users the essentials
                iii. Questions to ask yourself before adding design elements
                           1. Does this element simplify the users’ task?
                           2. Does this element add value to the user
                iv. Every icon, picture, graphic, animation, and media feature should serve a
                     definite purpose
                 v. Fewer features means:
                           1. Fewer things to confuse users
                           2. Less risk of user error
                           3. Less descriptions needed
                           4. Simpler help content
         g. Toward a More Elegant Design
                  i. There will always be new technology, but using it right away may not be the
                     smartest choice
                           1. Early adopters are the minority
                 ii. When creating your Web site, wait until mainstream audiences have accepted
                     new interactions before you introduce them
                iii. Rule: Function always come before beauty
XII. Final Thoughts: Design That Works
         a. Keep your users at the center of your design
         b. Being interested in what users want gets you business and keeps you loyal
         c. Know your target users
         d. Choose function before form
       i. Combine creativity and usability to achieve the most optimum design
e. Make sure to constantly be testing your assumptions
       i. Listen and test users
      ii. Keep modifying and testing design

				
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