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Some very good usability truisms

October 2, 2009 - 3 Comments

Smashing Magazine has a great article summarizing 10 useful usability tips for web sites. 

We certainly see these themes in our own testing on Cisco’s sites (and try to follow them, though there is always work to do on many fronts).

Though I could quibble with some of the generalizations — and there are many more things to keep in mind than just these — by and large you can set your compass by the recommendations in the article.


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  1. The point about visitors focusing on the human face is quite interesting. I didn't know this, maybe it's time to get some people on my web pages?I think in general visitors are just looking for a clean cut, easy to use experience. They don't want to be hunting for the information they require, we all know what happens then...they press the back button.

  2. That's good question. As is pointed out in the article, Jakob's original users don't scroll"" mantra doesn't completely hold today, because user behaviors have changed. Actually, even back when this guideline was developed we all knew the users will indeed scroll to destination content if it was relevant to them.As the article at Smashing notes ""users are quite comfortable with scrolling and in some situations they are willing to scroll to the bottom of the page.""They show Basecamp as an example of good page layout using a top of page ""hero,"" which works similarly to what we do on, while it's good to be aware of scrolling -- especially on transitory pages -- the reality is that users will scroll if they see that there's more.In the case of our Voice and Unified Communications page, for instance, you can see tabs with useful content even on a screen of 1024 x 768... and we know from tests that most users will scroll down to read if the content looks interesting."

  3. If Jakob Nielsen says that 77% of visitors won’t scroll, what do you think about taking a closer look at carousel space consumption? When there's a carousel at the top of the page, most of the content on the page falls below the fold.