Know your audience and why they are coming to your site
Think usability above all else.
No one is reading your website.
Measure your results.
The Homepage Users spend an average of 30 seconds on your home page. Here’s what you need to communicate in that time: What site they have arrived on What benefits the organization offers them Something about the organization and it’s products/services Choices and how to get to the most relevant section
Do you Know Where You are?
What are the benefits of this organization to you? (WIIFM)
Can you tell me something about recent developments?
Do you know how to get to relevant sections?
Basic Page Elements that Users Look For:
Perceptible menus, with some graphic or color delineation, across the top and usually on the left
A Home button in or near the menu on the far left of all pages except the homepage
A logo in the upper-left corner of all pages (clickable to the home page)
An open search field in the upper-right corner of all pages
A shopping cart icon in the upper-right corner of all pages
A login/out feature in the upper-right corner of all pages.
Utility navigation at the very top or very bottom of pages that is subtle and visually weaker than the main/global navigation
Sections and Headings Save Time Headings that describe the information below them save users time Offer white space, borders, and color to help users see the sections and the topics Chunk information Provide headings for each section Be careful not to make the headings look so big or colorful that they look like an add or promotion
Interlude – Sound Smart Definition Information Architecture – The combination of organizing, labeling, and navigation within an information system The structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to content The art and science of classifying and structuring websites to help people find and manage information Source: Rosenfeld, L and Morville, P (2002). Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (2nd Edition) Sebastapol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc.
Navigation Navigation should be consistent, simple, and persistent Branding and marketing in menus confuses people A link is a promise. The link name sets the user’s expectation for what is to come Use the most specific words you can for links. Try to avoid using links titled “more”, etc. Links should change colors when clicked Use breadcrumbs
“Yahoo” Style navigation may satisfy your various coworkers, who all think their stuff belongs on the home page, but there is a reason why Google is the preferred search engine Avoid Branding in Navigation. It doesn’t make sense to your user
Characteristics of “Good” Images High contrast and high quality Cropped, rather than overly reduced, when necessary to fit a small space Not excessively detailed; easy to interpret Highly related to the content on the page, exciting Smiling and approachable faces People looking at (or at least facing) the camera Clear instructions or information
Smiling Face, looking at the camera
Medium quality, contrast
Highly related to the content
Easy to interpret
Characteristics of Ignored Images Are low contrast and low quality Are too busy for the space Look like advertisements Are not related to the content or only slightly related Are boring Include people or objects that are generic or obvious stock art Are cold, fake, or too polished
Picture does not include faces
Is not related to the program, and is not easy to interpret
Generic and obvious stock art
No relation to the program
Faces are not looking at the camera
Picture is only slightly related to the content
Picture is boring
Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design Do make sure that links change color when visited Do NOT have a link open in a new browser window – you’ll only frustrate your customer (exception: PDFs and other documents) Do NOT include vaporous content and empty hype Do make sure you content is scan able and easy to read
Do NOT use Flash Do keep videos and other multimedia elements short Do include videos that enhance your content. Do NOT include videos simply because you can
Do limit the amount your user has to scroll Do NOT use splash pages Do make sure your content is current and valid
Typography – The Basics Use sans serif fonts When in doubt, use Verdana Limit the number of font styles (and color) For a general audience, use 10-12 point font For a senior audience use 12-14 point font Black text on white background is the most readable, followed by blue text on white background
Writing for the Web Content should be the focus of your design. Content and headers are noticed first – even before images. Make sure your content is scan able Highlight key words Use concise and descriptive titles and headings Use bulleted and numbered lists Use simple, conversational language Tone down marketing hype Summarize key points and pare down.
Measure & Test Always measure your site and test your users against your expectations For measuring, use Google Analytics or a similar program to find out what pages are being most looked at, how long people are spending on each page, and where they are coming from. Conduct regular usability tests with your users. Don’t simply rely on surveys. Ask your users to conduct certain tasks/find certain information and watch how they go about doing it. Is your site set-up to be usable?