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Cre8asiteforums - Usability, SEO, Web Design and more

Catalyze Forums and Directory

Sticky Minds - Forums and Resources


Colorblind Test

Juicy Studio

Opera Mini Demo

Free Tools to Improve Web Site Usability

Articles and Recommended Web Sites

Cre8pc on Usability and Holistic SEO (blog)

Usability and SEO articles by

“Net Rage” A Study of Blogs and Usability

Human Ability and Accessibility Center

Human Factors International

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          1
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

UsabilityNet Methods Table


Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites: Observing Users Who Work
With Screen Readers

PAS 78 - Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites. This is
what the UK bases its accessibility laws and requirements on. Also used in the
USA. on Accessibility

Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

A “secret” usability tip:
Whether a home page or inside pages, there are lots of ways to attract attention
or generate curiosity so that your visitor becomes a potential customer, or simply
finds the content interesting enough to keep browsing around. My favorite part of
discount stores are the displays they toss clearance items into, or those “Oh yes,
I forgot I needed that” type items. You can do the same thing with your web site.
Simply place the toenail clippers, scotch tape and calling cards out front where
they’re easily seen.

In other words, remind your visitors of what they didn’t know they came for.


Newsletter Conversions
Here’s a rundown, in no particular order, of things to consider if you want to
present a newsletter or any type of subscription-based publication (such as news
updates, sales promotions) that requires asking for someone’s email address
and their name. The idea behind the list is to increase conversions, reduce
signup abandonment and inspire interest in your subscription offering.

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          2
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

Check off the items you choose to apply.

___1. Are there too many opportunities for signup?
        Some web sites appear desperate. There may be a text link in the global
navigation and footer, plus a box placed on every single web page. Some web
sites have two boxes – one above the page fold and a duplicate below the fold.

___ 2. Did you extend a polite invitation during conversational content
       There are many ways to invite signups, such as when introducing yourself
or company, in a form return page when you direct visitors back to the homepage
or somewhere of interest, or as an item in the About Us content. Link to a page
containing information about the newsletter, and make sure this informational
page contains a convenient signup form.

___ 3. Does the box contain scan words such as “Free”, “Sales”, Special”? (Ex.
“Subscribe to our free newsletter.”) If not, consider adding one of them.

___ 4. Did you study your target market to learn if there is a need for your type of
newsletter? Who are your intended readers?

___ 5. Be careful. Some forms are confusing, such as when they ask for a
mailing address for an EMAIL only newsletter. Why do you want to know where
they live? (If you have a good reason, it’s best to clearly state what that is.)

___ 6. Is the newsletter intended for an International audience? If there is a
reason to ask for personal information, make sure the form is designed for
International users to fill out. For example, do not “require” a State field for
countries that do not have States.

___ 7. Link to a privacy policy at or near the top of the sign up form. This explains
exactly what will happen to the subscriber’s email address and any other
information they’re asked to give. If they don’t trust your motives, they may
refuse to sign up.

___ 8. A simple newsletter sign up box should request a user name and email
address that will accept the email. Instructions near or inside the box, or in the
newsletter information page, explaining they’ll receive a confirmation email
verifying their information will increase user confidence.

___ 9. Always link to a sample issue. Otherwise, they have no idea what they’re
signing up for. Always refer to the title of the publication. I’ve seen signup
requests for publications with no name!

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          3
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

___10. Provide free archives. A history of a newsletter indicates if it’s new, or an
established publication. The latter hints at authority on the subject matter. If
new, note somewhere that archives will be provided. In this way, you offer a
second chance to sign up later, once the prospect has an opportunity to see the

___11. Have you seen this? I have. Some newsletters ask for content
suggestions and ideas, but they don’t have an issue available, or archives online,
making it difficult to understand what they cover, or what was previously written

___12. How often does it arrive? Make sure this is indicated on the informational
page. An informational page is a great way to sell your newsletter. It contains
many of the items on this checklist and answers their questions. This will
encourage more subscriptions because they have a much better idea of what
you intend on sending to them.

___13. Is it HTML or text based? Do you offer a choice? Keep in mind that
everyone has different needs. It helps to offer a choice. If your newsletter
software allows a text version and an HTML version of your document, you can
offer subscribers a choice of receiving it depending on how their email client
preferences are set. For example, many prefer to read in a “text only” format. By
presenting choices, you can make your newsletter offering more attractive.

___14. What are the benefits of subscribing? Does it teach? Offer discounts?
Accept advertising?

___15. How good is it? Provide testimonials and reader feedback, with their
permission. This is especially helpful in competitive industries. Another
advantage is when you ask for feedback; you can follow up on their suggestions.
In many cases, improvements are made based on reader feedback.

___16. If your publication is monthly, here’s an idea from magazine publishers.
In your information page, list the topics to come in the next year beforehand.
This is great for fee-based publications too. Keep the reader interested by what
you plan to cover.

___17. Offer referral incentives. This may make more sense for fee-based
publications, but be creative. If you’re a consultant, and want to drive up
readership, is there something you can offer such as free 15 minutes of your
time, or a give away ezine, or discount on future services?

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          4
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

___18. Announce upcoming issues on your homepage, and the publication
itself. Some newsletters come the same day, every week. If for some reason
they will NOT be delivered, make sure to warn subscribers in the previous issue.
Otherwise, you may be bombarded with “Where’s my newsletter!” emails.

___19. Avoid relying on a simple box signup alone. Place a “View information”
text link inside it that invites your visitor to learn more, gain trust, and get excited
about your publication. Place a “Tell a friend” box on the information page too,
for fast and easy referrals to your newsletter.

___20. For more ideas on how to promote and present a newsletter offering,
study the techniques used by There’s information on the
writers, pictures, archives, topics, resources, and more!

Your newsletter sign ups can grow even more if you enable readers of the
newsletter to share it with friends. Some text like this on the newsletter might
lead them to share it with others:

“If you enjoyed this edition of the [name of newsletter], and you know of someone
          else who might like it, consider forwarding a copy of it to them.”

Towards the end of your newsletter, include a link to your newsletter
informational page where people can subscribe if they’ve received a forwarded
copy from a friend and decided that it’s something they would like to receive too.
For example, you can write,

       “If you received this newsletter by way of a referral and wish to receive
further issues, you can sign up for free using the link provided.”

Architecture and Navigation

___1. Is there a primary navigation that goes to vital visitor-essential information
such as Contact, About, Investors?

___2. Have you provided secondary navigation to top-level sections hubs? (In
smaller sites, this can be combined with the primary navigation.)

___3. Do you use “breadcrumb” navigation for inside navigation of sections?

___4. Are navigation elements grouped logically and/or in the order of user

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          5
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

___5. From the homepage, are there suggested “click paths” to follow to get
inside the website?

___6. Are links clearly labeled? (Underlines are favored over hover color
changes because this is an easily recognized cue to users.)

___7. Do the link labels clearly describe the link target so that your visitor will be
confident in what they’ll find when they click on it?

___8. Do link labels help describe the objective(s) of the website?

___9. It is always clear where to go next, where the user came from and where
they are.

___10. Drop-down lists list objects in alphabetical order.

___11. Do you offer clear click paths to follow for users with different needs, such
as first-time visitor, regular customer, preferred customers and casual browsers?

___12. Are alternate navigation options offered such as a sitemap or search

___13. Does navigation scheme inspire or compel the customer to browse?
(Keep them interested!)

___14. All text links to other pages from inside content are underlined. Example:
“You will find our Blah to be of the highest quality.” The word “Blah” is linked and

___15. Inside navigation (sub-navigation from within sections) is task oriented
and narrowly focused on just that topic.

___16. Avoid total reliance on the “Back” button. Never disable a “Back” button.

___17. If it takes more than 3 clicks to get to the meat of something, make sure
your visitor is satisfied with the result when they get there. Nobody appreciates a
wild goose chase!

___18. Don’t put all your navigation eggs in the Homepage basket. Let it link to
top-level chickens who lay eggs inside your website. (In other words, your
Homepage is not your sitemap.)

___19. Use caution when permitting a page to link to itself. Inexperienced users
may wonder why the click didn’t take them anywhere new, and the page
refreshed instead. Examples: (1) The Homepage has a navigation link to home.

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          6
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

(2) When arriving upon a page, you can unlink that page in the navigation and
make it stand out as an indication that you are upon that page by using bold or a
different color or both. It's not necessary to do that, but it is an option.

___20. Your navigation is skimmed down to the mere basics on any page that’s
part of the shopping cart, a registration form, feedback form, or setting
personalization preferences. This helps to avoid unnecessary distractions and
your visitor can focus on the tasks instead.

Forms and Error Tolerance

___1. The shopping cart process steps are clearly labeled.

___2. Visitors will not lose any information as they move forward and backwards
in a form or shopping cart.

___3. Shipping and delivery information is placed at the beginning of the
shopping process and again at the end. (Even better are shipping calculations
displayed based on shopping cart additions and deletions.)

___4. Tax information is offered at the beginning of the shopping process, not as
a surprise fee tacked on at the end.

___5. Name fields allow for names with spaces and dashes, such as “John
Henry”, “Mary Jane” and “Burns-Mathews”.

___6. The “Add to Cart” feature is easy to understand and the button or image is
clearly visible.

___7. If you require a phone number, state why. Give the option to decline and
permit an alternate contact device such as email or FAX.

___8. Clearly indicate which fields are required. People are accustomed to
seeing an asterisk. (*)

___9. When asking for a phone number, ask for a “Best time to call” and “Person
to ask for.”

___10. Units of measure, dates, phone numbers, names, address and postal
codes are formatted to be accessible for International users.

___11. There are no banners or other distractions interfering with the filling out of
a form or buying process.

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          7
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

___12. There are no links to off-site pages available during the buying process.

___13. A form for user feedback is provided.

___14. A survey with specific questions to evaluate website or customer
satisfaction is available.

___15. You do not force visitors to remember items across pages or sessions.

___16. Costly actions or security risks are confirmed in user instructions.

___17. Costly actions and risks are reversible (i.e. they can change their mind.)

___18. Error messages offer a solution or how-to make corrections in simple,
easy to understand terms.

___19. Help is available in a Help page or FAQ for complicated forms or

___20. Avoid “form fatigue” by creating shorter forms. Limit the amount of
questions or shorten the amount of pages the form takes to complete. Don’t
make every single field “required”.

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          8
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                       

                                       Additional RESOURCES
Flash and Usability/SEO

         search-engines-flash-still-dont-mix - Flash and SEO - Compelling
         Reasons Why Search Engines & Flash Still Don't Mix
         indexing.html - Improved Flash Indexing
   • - Yahoo Flash Developer Center
   • -
         How to SEO Flash by Jonathan Hochman
         y/Pages/Websiteaccessibilityguidance.aspx - FREE download of PAS 78

Usability 101

Some of my favorite books:

Ecommerce Usability – David Travis
Submit Now, Designing Persuasive Websites – Andrew Chak
Producing Flash CS3 Video – John Skidgel
Web Accessibility Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance – Group authors,
forward by Molly Holzschlag

Everything written by Luke Wroblewski, including his new book, Web Form

All books by Bryan Eisenberg, FutureNow
All books by Holly Buchanan, FutureNow

My Favorite Sites:

                     Copyright 2008-2009                          9
       No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg                                                    

Usability services by Kim Krause Berg are affordable, customizable and friendly.
If you ever have any questions, my email is Services - Earn money by offering UE Usability

                  Copyright 2008-2009                          10
    No Reproductions Permitted without the permission of the author, Kim Krause Berg

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