SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: SIGIA-L: quick request: page layouts
RE: SIGIA-L: quick request: page layouts
Date: Wed Apr 03 2002 - 11:54:58 EST
>I've seen a vast amount of bad CHI research
So did you just diss my study George? ;)
I totally agree with you that UIE was just getting into content at the time, the web has changed significantly since then, and that the methods used may not have been the best measures.
It remains that high-information density sites will perform better on finding tasks. There's some important things to realize about that statement. As much as we groove on findability, comprehension and context are critical elements for making use of whatever is found. The users' goals are very rarely to "find" something without doing something with what they've found.
Also note that 'high-density' doesn't mean no whitespace, or abandoning our design principles we've learned. But too many publication designers want to apply print design principles without adapting to the web (eg. besides the whole low-resolution/emitted scanning display - which technology will solve one day - scrolling is one of the biggest differences from print, and affects things like reading comprehension *significantly*.)
Not that pub designers (or HCI folks) are not trying to do their best - just that blindly following principles, without understanding their source, is fairly common in both crowds (even in our little IA community here).
I don't think the ideal is 'cram everything on one page', but of course we agree that layout depends on business goals, user goals, and the amount of content and its complexity. Here's a principle for the web: for any given amount of text, lower information density (more whitespace/graphics) = more pages and/or more scrolling. We just need to find the balance between the clean, minimalist, whitespace-heavy layout and 'mirabilis 700 links on one page' business. What that balance is will change from project to project. On a branding site, visuals might be more important than copy, and finding might be secondary to conveying the brand image. On a research site, content and findability are more critical, and vast tracts of whitespace or large 'mood' images wouldn't work as well.
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:08 EST