Table of Contents

web bloopers: 60 common web design mistakes and how to avoid them
Web Bloopers: 60 Common Web Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
by Jeff Johnson   ISBN:1558608400
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers © 2003 (329 pages)

The author of this witty text calls attention to the most recurrent and annoying design bloopers from real web sites he has worked on or researched; the book shows how to correct or avoid bloopers and gives a detailed analysis of each design problem.

has companion web site Companion Web Site
Table of Contents
Web Bloopers”60 Common Web Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Part 1 - Bloopers in the Content and Functionality of the Website
Chapter 1 - Content Bloopers
Chapter 2 - Task-Support Bloopers
Part 2 - Bloopers in the User Interface of the Website
Chapter 3 - Navigation Bloopers
Chapter 4 - Form Bloopers
Chapter 5 - Search Bloopers
Part 3 - Bloopers in the Presentation of the Website
Chapter 6 - Text & Writing Bloopers
Chapter 7 - Link Appearance Bloopers
Chapter 8 - Graphic and Layout Bloopers
Appendix A - Memo to Managers
Appendix B - Websites Cited
Appendix C - How this Book was Usability Tested
Appendix D - Related Books and Websites
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Tech Talks

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Will your website pass the test? Or will site visitors be gnashing their teeth and shaking their fists? Will any customers ever come back to your site? Save yourself the embarrassment of being caught with your Web bloopers showing. Read this book and find out now if your website commits any heinous bloopers.

This book is not just about how to make websites pretty, and its not just another tirade about what is wrong with the Web. It goes in depth and grapples with challenging usability issues at the heart of many Web bloopers. It offers solid and sound advice on avoiding or fixing these problems. It is written with a sense of humor and is sprinkled with relevant cartoons and numerous screen images illustrating problems and solutions. Reading this book will help you make your websites better.


  • Discusses in detail 60 of the most common and critical Web design mistakes along with the solutions, challenges, and tradeoffs associated with them.
  • Covers important subject areas such as content, task-support, navigation, forms, searches, writing, link appearance, graphic design, and layout.
  • Organized and formatted based on the results of a usability test performed by Web designers themselves .
  • Features its own website web-bloopers .comwith new and emerging Web design no-nos (because new bloopers are born every day) along with a much- requested printable blooper checklist for Web designers and developers to use.

About the Author

Jeff Johnson is a consultant at UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting form. He has worked in the field of human-computer interaction since 1978 as a software designer, usability tester, manager, and researcher. He also wrote the book GUI Bloopers: Donts and Dos for Software Developers and Web Designers, published by Morgan Kaufmann Publsihers.

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Web Bloopers ”60 Common Web Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them




Senior Editor: Diane D. Cerra

Senior Developmental Editor: Belinda Breyer

Publishing Services Manager: Edward Wade, Simon Crump

Editorial Coordinator: Mona Buehler

Project Manager: Howard Severson, Kevin Sullivan

Cover Design: Ross Carron Design

Text Design: Chen Design Associates

Composition: Graphic World, Inc.

Copyeditor: Graphic World Publishing Services

Proofreader: Graphic World Publishing Services

Indexer: Richard Shrout

Interior Printer: Quebecor World

Cover Printer: Phoenix Color

Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks or registered trademarks. In all instances in which Morgan Kaufmann Publishers is aware of a claim, the product names appear in initial capital or all capital letters . Readers, however, should contact the appropriate companies for more complete information regarding trademarks and registration.

340 Pine Street, Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104-3205

Copyright 2003 by Elsevier Science (USA).

All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means ”electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise ”without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2002115475

ISBN: 1-55860-840-0

This book is printed on acid-free paper.


Jeff Johnson is President and Principal Consultant for UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting firm based in San Francisco. He founded UI Wizards in 1996. Client companies of UI Wizards have included Advance Reality, Aspect Technologies, AT&T, Informix, InfoSpace, InXight, Oracle, Optical Microwave Networks, Inc., RightPoint Software, Silicon Graphics, Studio Archetype, Sun Microsystems, Tibco Financial Technologies, and Vitria. Prior to founding UI Wizards, Jeff worked as a user -interface designer and implementer, manager, usability tester, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems. He is the author of GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Do's for Software Developers and Web Designers and has published numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in human-computer interaction and technology policy (for details see his website at Jeff co-chaired the first U.S. conference on participatory design of computer systems: PDC'90. He has a B.A. degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, both in experimental psychology, with additional studies in computer science.


First and foremost, I thank Belinda Breyer, Senior Developmental Editor at Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, who served both as my boss, setting the schedule and cracking the whip when necessary, and as my helper, chasing down references, finding suitable cartoons, devising clever names for bloopers, and numbering figures. The book would have been both much later and lower in quality without her oversight, advice, and help.

Others at Morgan Kaufmann who were instrumental in getting this book project started or finished were: Diane Cerra, Howard Severson, and Edward Wade. I thank them. I also thank Chen Design Associates, Graphic World Publishing Services, and Ross Carron Design for their parts in turning my manuscript into a high quality book.

This book benefited enormously from examples of bloopers contributed by people too numerous to list here. You know who you are. It also benefited from comments on GUI Bloopers ”this book's predecessor ”submitted by readers at and online bookstores. The book also was greatly improved by the comments and suggestions of several reviewers and usability testers: Richard Anderson, Jim Bartram, Cathy de Heer, Meghan Ede, Darren Gergle, Ryan Hanau, Austin Henderson, Ellen Isaacs, Carolyn Jarrett, Robin Kinkead, Steve Krug, Jim Miller, Stu Rohrer, Gitta Salomon, and Howard Tamler. Thanks are due to Jakob Nielsen for providing information on Web trends, to Kevin Mullet for advice on graphic design issues, and to Steve Krug for advice on designing the book's figures and for writing the Foreword.

I thank several dear friends for providing supportive friendship during this long project: Chuck Clanton, Robin Jeffries, Tom McCalmont, Jane Rice, and Kathy Thompson. Finally, I thank my wife and companion, Karen Ande, for being unconditionally supportive.

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