October 29, 2007

IL2007: New Rules for Web Design

Jeff Wisniewski, U Pittsburgh

- Use the several decades worth of research into usability and design to shortcut current design discussions as much as possible

- can narrow down to 'what is best practice"?

Simplicity rules... but... many library sites are multi-function ones with many different types of information, so finding a balance between too little and too much is important

"the time of simplicity, if it ever existed, is over"

design matters A LOT: first impressions, etc! Design for what your users are doing (this is important!).

Rule of 7 (not so much a rule as a guideline)
- well organized
- well labeled

3-click rule... is DEAD. users will click as long as they feel they're getting where they need to be.

Design for multi-platforms and don't design for a restricted 800x600 screen - be more fluid and use flexible design (CSS media types)

RIP web-safe colors? "most computers today have the ability to display millions of different colors"

For redesign of your site, look at other libraries BUT ALSO look outside library land! see what other sites are providing.

How often to redesign? Constantly - iterative, evolutionary change is good. Revolutionary change is hard on the users (and boy, haven't we all seen that!)

A/B testing (post one design for a little while, then a slightly different design, and compare user inputs)

Follow your own naming conventions! (Whatever makes most sense to your users)

...But - follow established standards and conventions.

Don't assume all users have speedy connections, and watch download/display times.

Must support all browsers for basic content! Accessibility GOOD. (Watch the added content.)

"graded browser support" - can tweak CSS to display different levels of content based on browser in use -

The time has truly come to ditch table-based layout!

Popups still bad - blocked by default by most browsers today.

Mouseover menus... raise many usability considerations. Not scannable so could impact that first impression.

Is scrolling still bad? Users scroll if there's a clue that there's something "below the fold" - not as much as an issue these days.

Identified pictures of people increase trust and credibility

RIA - Rich Internet Application

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