Thursday, December 6, 2007

10 Usability Principles

10 Usability Principles to guide you through the Web Design

Look n Feel/Motivate

Design your site to meet specific user needs and goals. Use motivators to draw different user "personae" into specific parts of your site.

Task Analysis/User task flow

Who are your users? What are their tasks and online environment? For a site to be usable, page flow must match workflow.

Navigational Structure/Architecture – it's 80% of usability

Build an efficient navigational structure. Remember – if they can't find it in 3 clicks, they're gone.

Differentiating the controls/Affordance means obvious

Make controls understandable. Avoid confusion between emblems, banners, and buttons.


Why reinvent the wheel? Use ergonomically designed templates for the most common 8-12 pages.

Simultaneously Testing/Usability test along the way

Test early in design using low-fidelity prototypes. Don't wait until the end when it's too late. Know the technology limitations Identify and optimize for target browsers and user hardware. Test HTML, JavaScript, etc. for compatibility.

Avoid Graphics, Images/Know user tolerances

Users are impatient. Design for a 2-10 second maximum download. Reuse header graphics so they can load from cache. Avoid excessive scrolling.

Multimedia – be discriminating

Good animation attracts attention to specific information, and then stops. Too much movement distracts, slowing reading and comprehension.

Use a stats package

Monitor traffic through your site. Which pages pique user interest? Which pages make users leave? Adjust your site accordingly.

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