Chapter 10. Presenting Page Elements

  • When the "Three-Click Rule" Wreaks Havoc

322 Should You Design for Scrolling?

  • Four Rules of Scrolling

329 Guiding Users, Step by Step

  • Tip: Beware of Magic Numbers

333 Keep Like with Like

  • Sloppy Formatting of Forms

  • Look at Me!

344 Satisfy Your Users' Expectations

347 Using White Space

A company has only a browser-size canvas on which to present its message on the Web. People garner their impressions of a Web site based on what they see at a glance, and there's no guarantee that that will be everything on the first screeneven items that are bold and flashing. Web users have learned through experience to expect certain items in certain areas and to ignore others. Understanding users' behavior and expectations can help you create layouts that satisfy them and make it more likely that they'll get your message.

Web designers must convey abundant information about a company or organization in a very limited space. Emphasizing the information that is of the highest priority to users is critical to attracting their interest. Conducting user testing will help you understand your audience so that you can match your site's design to its needs.

Common page layout mistakes include:

  • Page not structured in prioritized order

  • Interactions overly complex and don't offer guidance

  • Related areas not grouped in close proximity

  • Elements not properly aligned to create order

  • Elements not placed where people expect

  • Too many elements on page

Following usability guidelines for presenting page elements can help you avoid these mistakes.

When the "Three-Click Rule" Wreaks Havoc

The three-click rule espoused by some people states that any information on a Web site should be reachable from the homepage in three clicks or less. However, this has never been one of our usability guidelines.

In fact, we found that users' ability to find products on an e-commerce site increased by 600 percent after the design was changed so that products were four clicks from the homepage instead of three. Even with one more click, the revised design was faster and more manageable because users didn't have to spend as much time thinking about where to click.

The three-click rule seems intuitivea good way to respect users' timewhich is probably why it has achieved the status of usability folklore. However, it doesn't hold up in testing for one simple reason: What makes users give up is the total amount of trouble you put them through. Yes, each click is extra trouble, so longer paths are worse than shorter paths, all else being equal. But all else isn't equal because having to think more about each click and having a greater risk of clicking the wrong link creates trouble in itselfusually much more trouble than a simple extra click on an obvious link. Attempts to force a large Web site to fit with the three-click rule usually result in obscure and overloaded navigation systems.

Prioritizing Web Usability
Prioritizing Web Usability
ISBN: 0321350316
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 107

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