The classic book of web usability. Required reading for anyone who makes websites.
Use conventions so people don't have to think for even a millisecond.
Aim for self-evident first.
If that fails, self-explanatory should be 2nd best.
Try to not need to explain at all.
Remember people quickly glance / scan a page, quickly looking for what they need. They don't read all options.
They guess fast instead of consider all.
1. Create clear visual hierarchy
2. Use conventions
3. Page is in clearly defined areas
4. Make obvious what's clickable
5. Minimize noise
Omit needless words. Avoid happy-talk and instructions.
Tabs must be real if you do them : where front-color is connected to content, and non-selected tabs are darkened with line beneath.
Navigation is crucial but so is secondary and even third-ary! Don't ignore importance of it.
Breadcrumbs help, should be Top > Sub > Sub-Sub > Here (in bold)
But don't make breadcrums only navigation, and don't make last category double as page header.
Show "you are here" clearly.
Navigation helps show the context of your offerings.
Logo everywhere links to home.
The word they click should be the title of the destination page they hit!
EVERY PAGE SHOULD ANSWER THESE IMMEDIATELY (assume someone just woke up & saw any page in your site)
- what site is this?
- what page am I on?
- what are the major site sections?
- what are my options at this level?
- where am I in the scheme of things?
- how can I search?
HOME PAGE NEEDS:
- identify site & mission
- answer: where do I start?
- show heirarchy
- teases (like magazine cover, enticing to see content inside)
- timely content
- short cuts to most popular things
- registration / sign-in / show if signed-in ("welcome back Dave!")
- easy to find "what I'm lookign for"
- but also "not looking for" : enticing things they didn't know about
HOW TO GET THESE ACROSS:
Tagline next to site ID (logo). 6-8 words. Specific. Meaningful and clear.
Welcome blurb in top part. 1-2 sentences. Important words bolded.
Just 3-4 people is plenty. Pay $50/hr. Camcorder pointing at screen.
Ask them to think out loud. Let them know they can do nothing wrong.
When they say something generic, ask details. If they say, "I like it", ask what they like, and same with negative.
Hide site until time to start. The second they see the home page, ask "What is this? What would you click on?"
Ignore "kayak" problems : the ones they turn around immediately.
Resist adding things to solve problems. That's rarely the answer.