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Design & Development - Designing Web Applications: information about designing web sites and browser based applications.

Are People Getting Stuck In Your GUI?

According to this Grokdotcom article "An effective GUI bridges all the gaps between you and your shoppers by helping them focus on the content of your website. A good GUI should be seamless, transparent, completely unobtrusive. A super interface will help build the proper customer experience, reinforce your brand, and increase your sales. A bad one will do just the opposite. (2000-08-13)

Recipe for a Successful Website

In this Web site, Nathan Shedroff, Chief Creative Officer, vivid studios, uses a cooking metaphor to present what he calls the six basic ingredients for building a successful web site. The ingredients are Content, Information Design, Performance, Compatibility, Visual Design and Interaction  Design. There are many links to other Web site that illustrate these key characteristics.  (2000-08-06)

A Message to Web Designers: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

In this New York Times article, Jeffery Selingo writes about "...about the growing impatience that Web users are having with constant face lifts of their favorite sites or with sites that are difficult to navigate."  (2000-08-06)

A flying menu attack can wound your navigation

According to this Lighthouse on the Web article "...too many Web travellers have to pull over to the side of the road to find the destination they want. And the Web equivalent of the roadside information bay is the fly-out menu. In all its forms, it is used too often." (2000-08-06)

Know When to Think

In this ClickZ article, Neil Cohen advises that "Taking a direct, simple approach to situations is sometimes the best answer, even when the course of direction seems to lack imagination and creativity." (2000-07-30)

Give Me My Web Space

According to this Webtechniques article by Molly E. Holzschlag: "Simplicity in Web design can be a very potent technique. This doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself, but that you should place each element with a purpose in mind." (2000-07-30)

The death of e-business

In this Datamation article, Chris Pickering writes "E-business' world-changing stage has lasted longer than most. Its successive waves of evolution have sustained its position as the hope for the future. First there was the rush just to get on the Web (brochureware). Then came e-commerce. And now it is the complete integration of all business processes. Each wave has rolled into the next, sustaining e-business' momentum while changing its complexion. This rapid evolution has allowed little time to step back, sit down, and ponder the pros and cons of e-business.." (via webword) (2000-07-30)

Make Your Website Purposes Crystal Clear

According to Dr. Ralph F. Wilson: "A great many businesses on the Web find difficulty explaining to someone why they should be on the Internet. Clarity here can help you develop a lean, clean Internet machine that will accomplish your purposes." (2000-07-30)

How to Weave a More Useful Web

According to this PCWorld article about Jakob Nielsen; "90 percent of Web sites are poorly designed and difficult to use. From animations that take far too long to download to outdated e-commerce sites and generally confusing layout, the Web needs a lot of work to live up to its potential." (2000-07-23)

Does Your Website Sing?

In this Forbes Magazine article, Joseph R. Garber advises that "If you want to check how good your own site is, use the following test. This is a take-home test; trying it on your souped-up office PC is cheating." (2000-07-15)

4 Ways Flash Kills

In this WorkZ.com article Matt May cautions that "Boo.com is the first example of a phenomenon I call Death by Flash. You can expect to see more of it over the next year, as sites that tried to "break out of the box" find that "the box" is where too many of their potential customers live." (via webword) (2000-07-15)

Putting Your Intranet to Work

This IT Advisor article presents 50 Ideas for department-specific Intranet applications. (2000-07-09)

Hey Flasher, Stop Abusing your Visitors

According to  this Flazoom.com editorial on the use of Flash animations: "The majority of sites on the web also only use Flash as a way to present text content over time (text animations). These 'intro movies' typically frustrate readers by either being too fast or too slow." (2000-07-01)

Page View: Create a Usable Flash Site

According to this W3 Nation editorial "Flash receives a great deal of criticism from usability and web standards advocates, and their arguments are usually valid. What the critics fail to understand is that the designers are usually responsible for the lack of usability, not the program itself." (2000-07-01)

Effective E-commerce Design

This webreview.com article looks "... at two businesses which conventional wisdom would consider decidedly undigitizable: florists and grocery stores. These examples demonstrate the first two levels of information intensity which e-businesses must strive for. The first level is the bare minimum: bridging the sensory-deprivation gap, and giving the customer a fighting chance at making an informed, rather than blind, purchase. The second level is the use of contextual information to create value, and sell bouquets and beans, in new ways." (2000-07-01)

The art of online merchandising

In this article Melissa Pennings of Creative Good outlines a six-step process to merchandise more effectively on your site. (2000-07-01)

Ten elements of a good Web site

In this Seattle Times article, Charles Bermant suggests that every web page "...is like an automobile, it needs to have the brake to the left of the gas and the steering wheel in the middle. The lights are on the front of the car, and it needs to run on available fuel. If it lacks these things sooner or later you'll go off the road." (2000-07-01)

Designing Interactive Systems for 1-to-1 E-commerce

This page contains links to the proceedings of the CHI 2000 Workshop Designing Interactive Systems for 1-to-1 E-commerce.  (2000-06-11)

Simplify And Sort For Better Searches

According to this Enterprise Development article by Constance Petersen: "Nothing matters more to your Web site's success than a good search tool. More than 50 percent of visitors to a Web site head straight for the search button..." The article presents some ideas and examples for designing a site search. (2000-06-04)

A Web Site is a Public Place

According to this Journal of Design Science article "A Web site is like any other public place where people come to look, to learn, to search, or to experience. And as in any public place, visitors will succeed in what they came to do only if the site gives them a clear indication of where they are, where they can go and what they will find there" (2000-06-04)

Web Site Design: Are We Doing It Right?

In this ClickZ article, Cliff Allen presents a few web design guidelines based on the findings of the Poynter eyetrack study of news web sites. These guidelines include "Add text links where only graphic links are now used." and "Use graphics in ways that do not interfere with reading informative text." (2000-05-29)

Users Matter: Meeting Site Visitor Needs

Understanding users helps us design good online experiences for them. If you don't try to understand who will be using your site, and how, you will design a site that only meets your own goals.  (2000-05-29)

Fitts's UI Law Applied to the Web

There is at least one immutable rule for interface design that we know about, and it's called Fitts's Law. It can be applied to software interfaces as well as Web site design because it involves the way people interact with mouse or other pointing devices. Most GUI platforms have built-in common controls designed with Fitts's Law in mind. Many Web designers, however, have yet to recognize the powerful little facts that make this concept so useful. (2000-05-29)

Turning Your Web Site Into an Effective Communications Tool

According to this office.com article "By following the eight steps delineated in this tool, you'll be able to produce a Web site that allows for more effective interaction and, in turn, improves the productivity of your personnel, increases the number of satisfied customers and boosts your business's profitability. " (2000-05-29)

A Dao of Web Design

According to this article by Jeff Allsopp when designing a web site we should first "... think about what your pages do, not what they look like. Let your design flow from the services which they will provide to your users, rather than from some overarching idea of what you want pages to look like. Let form follow function, rather than trying to take a particular design and make it "work". (via webword) (2000-05-29)

CNET Standards Manual

A behind the scenes look at CNet.com's style guide; something every web project should have to help guide development and eliminate inconsistency. (2000-05-21)

Ensure the search tool is matched to your audience's needs

in this infoworld.com article, Laura Wonnacott contents that "Only given the best-designed sites can we expect users to succeed at the obvious. Folks aren't visiting sites to figure out how they're put together or organized. They are on a quest for information, and the site that easily and quickly serves up the correct information will be the site that they return to." (2000-05-15)

What Makes a Great Web Site?

This article will break down the essential characteristics of great Web sites into some easily followed rules of thumb that include (1.) Original content is the most important trait of a great Web site and (2.) Great Web sites share everything they learn and hear (that's relevant of course) with their users (2000-04-25)

Web UI On The Cusp Of Change

An article on the problems and possibilities with web browser user interface technologies. The articles discusses DHTML, Netscape's XUL user interface specification technology and IBM's Sash weblication technology. (2000-04-25)

LIFT Online:A Web Site Evaluation Tool 

According to the developer, you can use LIFT Online to evaluate the usability of your Web site. While it is a useful tool, it doesn't  provide the kind of information you can obtain in usability testing with real people.  (2000-04-25)

Not just a pretty page

A round table discussion about web suability with Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, Ben Shneiderman and Brenda Laural. (via webword) (2000-04-16)

Seven Steps To Easier Web Navigation

This article presents seven suggestions for improving web site navigation that include using standard icons, avoiding irrelevant links, revealing the site structure, using bread crumb navigation, etc.  (2000-04-16)

Careers in User Experience Design

The user experience is the make-or-break test for many Web sites, especially e-commerce ventures that rely on happy customers to provide return business. But of all the people who work on a Web site, who is ultimately responsible for a site's usability? The answer used to be: Everyone and no one. But now, nearly every Web team has someone identified as its usability expert. (2000-04-16)

The Web and enterprise identity, part 1

This column is about the design of complex multi-site Web environments that effectively and cohesively communicate the depth and breadth of an enterprise's identity, mission, and products. (via tomalak) (2000-04-09)

Make Your Site a Better Information Delivery Tool

Getting people to the information they are seeking may be one of the things you have not given a lot of thought to. But it could be a grave obstacle to your online success. (2000-04-09)

Internet Branding and the User Experience

In the Internet space, branding means creating a great user experience. Internet branding moves beyond logo, tagline, key messages and graphic identity into the customer's real-time interaction with the brand, for the entirety of the online experience. (2000-04-02)

Web Design and XML

Basically, XML makes it possible for Web designers to send information in a form completely separate from the presentation of that information.  This means that Web site designers can present the same information in several different forms, customized to the needs of particular readers.  (2000-04-02)

Optimize Content to Maximize the Bottom Line

Managing customer relationships effectively requires that online marketers design a strategy in which content plays a key role in driving prospects and customers through a successful sales cycle. (2000-04-02)   

Going Global the Centralized Way

One of the first major sites to embrace globalization was, not surprisingly, fedex.com. From Albania to Zimbabwe, Federal Express maintains a presence in over 200 countries. And regardless of which national site you visit, you'll experience a look and feel that is remarkably consistent. (2000-03-26)

The Subtle Economics of the Hyperlink

In economic terms, every link-click carries a cost. You pay not in dollars but in time and frustration. And the cost is higher than is generally recognized - because in economic terms, you retain an "option" right up until the moment you click on a link. (2000-03-19)

Deep structure: �Blueprinting� the site interface

"I prefer to start site design discussions by establishing the basic page grid for all pages within the site, and then make the home page the first iteration of that basic page grid. This page grid or �site blueprint� is absolutely essential to the creation of a graphically consistent, well-organized, and easy-to-use Web site." (via tomalak) (2000-03-12)

Conceptualize Your Site

One of a Web builder's worst nightmares is redesigning a site because of usability problems or audience dissatisfaction. With the right planning, you can conceptualize, test, and improve your site's design before it goes live. We'll guide you through effective planning strategies that you can adapt to a small business or expand to the corporate team environment (via usableweb.com) (2000-03-05)

Designing Your Web Site Interface

It's inevitable that the interface you design today is going to have to change and adjust before you have the opportunity to do a major upgrade. So play some of those "What if?" games. What if you have to add another major category link to the homepage? (2000-03-05)

Shoppers of the Web Unite: User Experience and Ecommerce

Statistics say that Ecommerce goes hand in hand with customer frustration. Seth Gordon links the problem to bad user experience and details how to improve the situation (via usableweb.com) (2000-03-05)

Presenting Error Messages in Web Forms and Applications

This page illustrates an innovative technique for presenting field validation and error messages on an HTML form. With the Next and Previous links, it's particularly good for long scrolling forms.  (2000-03-05)

To link or not to link: Strategies for hypertext

Hypertext technology defines the Web�without it the alternative is a plain text file system. The primary advantage of hypertext over other media formats is that it keeps extra information in the background as an option for those who need it. This nonlinear system for accessing information lets a user quickly jump to related references, letting both novice and advanced readers get useful information from the same document. (2000-02-27)

The Max Model:A Standard Web Site User Model

To measure the accessibility of information on a web site, an increasingly important issue for web developers and site owners, we have developed an approach to modeling web site use behavior by creating a standard web site user model called the Max Model. This model user is based on the GOMS modeling approach, but is unique to web usage patterns by incorporating new research on web site behavior and unique assumptions about a standard web site user's characteristics. (2000-02-20)

Best Practices for Designing Shopping Cart and Checkout Interfaces

This document is an attempt to identify the best practices involved in the development of two important elements of an online shopping experience: (i.) the shopping cart and (ii.) the checkout process. (2000-02-20)

The Art Of E-Biz

According to this TechWeb article: "Design matters. Good design can make a Web site stand out among dozens of competing sites selling similar products. A well-thought-out presentation can boost traffic and sales. The best-designed sites keep customers coming back." (2000-02-20)

Common Sense Rules for Interaction Design

"After three years working with online commerce, I've noticed some common sense rules about designing the commerce interaction. The lesson is that any interface requires ongoing and devoted attention, because when users have trouble with an interface, the interface is usually to blame." (2000-02-13)

Are your pages upside down?

"The top four vertical inches of your home page are the most valuable real estate in your Web site, and should be the most dense area in your site in both visual and functional complexity.  Layout for any online document is really about the design of screens of information. This is a crucial difference between Web design and design for the printed page..." (2000-02-13)

When Imitation Works

From Amazon to eToys, major e-commerce sites are increasingly adopting a strikingly similar layout on their home pages. Designers may grumble about a lack of originality, and Amazon.com may smirk that others are simply following its lead, but the trend seems destined to help consumers by allowing them to move from site to site without having to relearn a new layout each time. (2000-02-13)

Web Site Makeover

Creating a good design is a challenge all e-commerce sites face, because a poor design can frustrate customers and have a financial impact. As studies from Redwood City, Calif.-based Zona Research Inc. have shown, more than one-third of online shoppers who have trouble finding a product just give up altogether. And really dissatisfied customers don't just stay away; they discourage their friends from visiting, too. (2000-02-13)

Top Ten Mistakes of Web Management

According to the author of this article, the top mistake is not knowing why you are building a site. He's says: "I am amazed how many websites are built simply because some executive told somebody to do it without telling them what the site should achieve. And no, it is not an acceptable reason that "everybody else is doing it." (2000-02-13)

In Search of the Elusive Interface

According to this WebTechniques.com article "An interface must be visually appropriate. Interfaces should not only match the desired result of the site, but have an engaging personality as well. Generally speaking, interfaces should be logical, and follow acceptable presentation standards for the mass market. (2000-02-06)

Is Your Site Shoppable

Too many people are coming to your commerce site and not buying a thing. How do we know? Because that's the case with every e-commerce site that USWeb/CKS has evaluated for shoppability, the ease and comfort with which users can complete a purchase transaction on a Web site. Check your logs, check your bank account; like most other sites, you are probably failing to convert browsers to buyers. (2000-01-30)

The Customer Experience

"Building a great company on the Web isn't about "aggregating eyeballs," "increasing stickiness," or embracing any of the other slogans that masquerade as strategy. It's about rethinking the most basic relationship in business: the one between you and your customers. How well do you meet their needs? How smoothly do you solve their problems? How quickly do you anticipate what they'll want next?" (2000-01-30)

Managing Errors in Transaction-based Web Applications

This paper presents some ideas and guidelines for minimizing data entry problems in a web application. It also describes techniques for wording and presenting field validation messages.  (2000-01-22)

MetaGrrrl Proposal on Documentation of the Design Process in Online Environments

This paper describe a process for managing and documenting the designs and development of a large Web site. (2000-01-22)

Is Navigation Useful?

According to this Jakob Nielsen Alert box article " For almost seven years, my studies have shown the same user behavior: users look straight at the content and ignore the navigation areas when they scan a new page. Nielsen advises that web pages should contain a limited number of key navigational links, such as a link to the site home page.  (2000-01-16)

Make your web site easy to use

25 ways to help visitors find what they're looking for. Tip number 1 is "Think like the user. Most sites only make sense from the inside out. They reflect the way those closest to the content understand it. For the user, it needs to make sense from the outside in. That may require a very different presentation." (2000-01-16)

Keeping Yahoo Simple--and Fast

According to Yahoo's chief technology officer Farzad Nazem: "It doesn't make sense to make pages complex and use a lot of graphics. If you make a site look really fancy, it looks great the first time. The second time it's amusing. And the third time it's just plain annoying." (2000-01-10)

What I learned running microsoft.com

"A second key lesson I've learned is to let customers design our site. Yahoo does that well, and I think we've come a long way in this direction. The fact is that most site designers have a perspective that is different from the majority of visitors to the site. They often think in terms of the site's coolness." (2000-01-10)

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