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Content Usability: Design Pages For Scanning


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Design Pages For Scanning If the First Law Of Usability – Don’t Make Me Think, as outlined in the book Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition by Steve Krug, so how do I design my pages for thoughtless (and streamlined) consumption? Krug advocates for visual hierarchy, conventions, breaking pages into areas, making clickables obvious, and minimizing noise.


Create Clear Visual Hierarchy

Krug writes:

Pages with a clear visual hierarchy have three traits:

  1. The more important something is, the more prominent it is.
  2. Things that are related logically are also related visually.
  3. Things are “nested” to show what’s part of what

From my experience:

  • Back in consulting practice I admired web pages that had clear hierarchy – it helped me to find priceless answers fast and solve customers problems in no time.

 

Take Advantages Of Conventions

Krug writes:

There are two important things to know about Web conventions":

  1. They’re useful.
  2. Designers are often reluctant to take advantage of them.

Innovate when you know you have a better idea (and everybody you show it says “Wow!”), but take advantage of you don’t.

From my experience:

  • Back in consulting conventions on pages and common terms helped me quickly get onboard people and create common language in the group of people working together. When you have common language it is so much easier to carry out the messages and get folks onboard.

 

Break Pages Into Clearly Defined Areas

Krug writes:

Dividing the page into clearly defined areas is important because it allows users to decide quickly which areas of the page to focus an on which areas they can safely ignore.

From my experience:

  • Put it simple, if I land on a page that has text only – no areas, no bullets, not subtitles, no nothing but text – I leave it the next second.

Make It Obvious What’s Clickable

Krug writes:

Since a large part of what people are doing on the Web is looking for the next thing to click, it’s important to make it obvious what’s clickable and what’s not.

From my experience:

  • It is not uncommon I land on a page brought by a search engine but I cannot find what I need on it. Only spending couple of seconds by hovering over the object on the page I start to realize there are dynamic links that show and hide. Leaves bad taste in the mouth. I cannot care less about these visual effects – just give me the right link!

Minimize Noise

Don't Make Me ThinkKrug writes:

One of teh great enemies of easy-to-grasp pages is visual noise. There are really two kind of noise:

1. Busy-ness.

Background noise.

From my experience:

  • I like Google home page for its un-noise’ness. I like WIkipedia for the same reason. My eyes hurt when I land on the pages where I need to make them work hard to find meaningful information. Noise hurts.

image by laffy4k

12 April 2011

3 Comments »

  • J.D. Meier said:

    I’m a fan of obvious clickability. I really don’t like when links are a game of hide and seek.

  • J.D. Meier said:

    I should add that the title is perfect – “Don’t Make Me Think” — and the irony is that’s the phrase we used on my team when we were evaluating our site designs. The other phrase was, “don’t make me work too hard.”

  • alik levin said:

    I loved the fact that the book is written the way it preaches.
    Simple text, structured – you get the insights w/o parsing it or working hard

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