Don't Make Me Think

Don't Make Me Think

Don't Make Me Think
Table of Contents
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User Experience Principles:

  • The function of every element on the page should be as obvious as possible.
  • Expect users to skim, satisfice, and muddle through pages.
  • Use a clear visual hierarchy to help users find things faster.
  • Don't go against conventions unless your change brings a significant and easy-to-learn improvement.
  • Assume that every element is visual noise.

Navigation Design:

  • Use navigation elements not just to show people how to find what they're looking for, but also to give them a sense of where they are and what else the site contains.
  • Navigation should be consistently laid out through all the levels of the site, not just the top two.
  • Navigation elements (particularly those showing the location of the current page) should stick out.
  • Tabs connecting to the pages below are strong navigational elements.

Visual and Content Design:

  • All headers and labels should be clearly associated visually with the elements they relate to (framing those elements).
  • Make sure that the homepage conveys the big picture. It should tell what the site is about.
  • Avoid the Tragedy of the Commons that occurs when too many things are added to the homepage.
  • Use taglines rather than mottos next to site logos. (Tell what the site does, not what its ideals are.)

Usability Testing and Improvement:

  • Focus groups are for initial planning; usability tests are for iterative improvement.
  • Test early, informally, and often.
  • Before you have a working prototype, run tests on a couple of sites with similar features or functionality to get a sense of what works well about them.

Accessibility Considerations:

  • Be considerate of the user. Try to have their best interests at heart.
  • Several small tweaks in the code can drastically improve accessibility.


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