Chapter 10. Presenting Page Elements
322 Should You Design for Scrolling?
329 Guiding Users, Step by Step
333 Keep Like with Like
347 Using White Space
A company has only a browser-
Web designers must
Common page layout mistakes include:
Following usability guidelines for presenting page elements can help you avoid these mistakes.
Should You Design for Scrolling?
As we discussed in our dissection of
Users tend to look smack in the middle of the page. If need be, they will also look to the left or the top to check out the navigation. They will rarely look all the way out in the right margin to check the scroll bar,
You might argue that people should notice the browser scroll barit's right there! But remember, to effectively process information, people cannot pay attention to everything on the screen. They adopt strategies to help them separate useful from useless information, and home in on areas that give the strongest information scent, ignoring the rest. The less you put on the page, the more likely they are to see it.
Though the browser scroll bar says
In general, it's safe to design for limited scrolling as long as you show the most important information first. But some Web sites have taken cautionary advice about scrolling to the
The placement of critical elements on the page can dictate whether people scroll or not.
(Facing page, top) The white space and the graphics that are lined up horizontally across the screen make it appear as if it's the bottom of the page even though there's more important information below. People looking for the Corporate
(Facing page, bottom) Where would you go to find the calendar of events? There are multiple links to buy tickets but nothing about a full list of upcoming shows. The information does exist, but it takes four screens of scrolling to get there. Here the problem is not the illusion of completeness, because there's clearly more on this page. The problem is that the information below the fold doesn't seem relevant. If you're interested in taking your visiting aunt to a Mozart concert
Corporate Overview on this site is not really an overview. The extremely long page doesn't optimize the use of
After we took the screen shot in the previous figure, Pixar redesigned its Corporate Overview page. The new design is an improvement, but the copy could still use some editing, and the lack of formatting makes scanning difficult. To the site's credit, however, major sections have been truncated by navigational links, making the information appear more manageable.
There are situations when longer pages are better than short,
The Next link at the bottom of the bottom of the screen doesn't tell people what you'll get by selecting it. Does the article continue or does the page move on to the next article? The table of contents at the top right hand corner of the screen can help people navigate to specific sections of this article, but it's placed in the peripheral area of the page, away from where people look.
Avoid cramming content into small scrolling areas. Requiring people to scroll in a tiny space is like forcing them to read through a
A small scrolling area like the one shown here makes reading uncomfortable. People in our test even tried to increase the size of the site to see more content.