SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: Need for expertise
Re: SIGIA-L: Need for expertise
From: christina wodtke (cwodtke_at_eleganthack.com)
Date: Fri Mar 23 2001 - 14:55:03 EST
> Sounds like they've been exposed to Jakob Nielsen. I would refer them to
> discussions of the application of his work on www.aslistapart.com, as well
> as other places. Just do a search with google to find relevant discussions
> and articles.
Oh, Jakob is not THIS bad... though it does have the mark of guru-itis all
over it. Web design rules for dummies...
Each of these "rules" is derived from a larger, smarter principal that
someone has apparently determined is too complex for the idiots building
Let's take a look:
1. "3 goals of a site have to be identified to determine the direction and
voice for the site"
Let's translate this one: determine the goals of the site before you start
building it. Goals need to come form multiple sources:
What are the business goals? (customer loyalty? investor excitement?)
What are the engineering goals? (easy to maintain? extensible?)
What are the sales goals? (more banner space? Customized pages for
What are the marketing goals? (reinforced branding?)
What are the user's goals?(I want to learn? find? buy? I need it to load
fast? Work on my 3.0 browser?)
It's called requirements gathering, and no site should be built without it.
2. "There should only be a maximum of seven links on each page, more than
that and we lose the user. It's just too many choices."
A better way to look at this would be "not everything can be the most
important thing on a page" A page has to have a visual hierarchy and
organization to make sense. Which means somebody gets to have their stuff in
the top left corner of the homepage, and someone gets be below the fold. It
is important to understand user tolerance of information but people can take
a lot more than one might suppose IF it is designed well. And sites with
only seven links often look empty (I've seen this in user testing) belying
the wealth of content that lies below.
3. "Users won't click on items they believe are advertisements. Banner ads
only work if they appear on the right side of the page."
It doesn't matter where you put the ads, if people think they are worthless
they won't click it. I found the eyetracking study very interesting-- it
showed people's eyes were looking at banners. yet neilson's banner blindness
study showed people have no memory of seeing ads. To me that suggests that
some lovely tiny bit of people's brains is quickly taking everything in,
deciding what is valuable and trashing what isn't.
What is quite more valuable is designing ads that show the value of whatever
is being offered and place them where they have meaning. So ads for a credit
card don't make much sense on a greeting card site, but ads for flowers,
chocolate, etc do. especially when placed at that important "susceptible
moment"-- you've just sent a card.. don't you want to send a present too?
People don't want to be offered stuff they don't want. it's as simple as
4. "Users are trained to respond to "blue" or underlined items on a site to
get somewhere else."
They were. and then every site on the web changed the rules (except maybe
They key principal here is "make a link look clickable" make it a different
color, make it a button, underline it-- do something to say "click me."
I've been in a lot of tests recently where people used "Braille" to find
links-- they ran their mouse across the page and watched for the hand to
show up. Kinda of a cruel thing to force users to do, no?
5. "There is no need for a button and a text click through (to the same
page) on the same page."
Yes and no: it is true linking to the same page you are on is not great:
people often click it and then are puzzled why "nothing happened." However
removing the link is also confusing. better to disable the link and have it
show state: use it to help users understand where they are on a site.
Rules online are fairly useless, because the web is changing so rapidly.
Better to go with human principals-- humans are changing a lot more slowly
than web conventions.
God, what a long post. It is friday, isn't it.
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:34 EST