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Entries tagged "web"

 

"Above the Fold" and Designing for the Web

By Nathan Moore
July 26, 2008
 

I think too much attention is given to the concept of “above the fold,” especially in regards to web design. This concept was borrowed from older print design, and more specifically, newspaper design - Old media.

These days, many old-minded people still assign an unreasonable amount of value to “above the fold” on the web - or as it is now commonly referred to as… “above the scroll.” This is the portion of the page that a user will see without having to scroll down for more content.

1. The “Above the Scroll” area is important.

Don’t get me wrong. The top portion of the page is important. There is no doubt about that. However, the major problem is that the first reaction to the sense of “valuable real estate” is to try to cram as much information in the “above the scroll” area as possible. This is just wrong. Prioritize the information and have a keen editor’s eye.

2. User screen resolutions are different.

The days of 99% of users having a 800x600 screen resolution are over. Screen resolutions are so diverse now that it is difficult to tell exactly where the scroll line occurs. Because of this, the thought of defining the line becomes extremely vague.

3. Users know how to scroll.

For goodness sake, most mice now have scroll wheels. I think that many designers disregard the fact that users can scroll down for more content. In fact, most users scroll the entire page even if they do not read it… It is called skimming and users probably do it on your website more than you think. Learn to work with conventions, not against them.

When having a site designed for you, make sure the space at the top of your pages is used wisely, but do not overdo it. Define a list of the most important things on your site or page and use that as a guide to arrange the content effectively.

 
 

The “Click Here” Disease: Click Here to Read More

By Nathan Moore
May 13, 2008
 

You should never use the words “Click Here” in a text link. And just to be clear - the title of this post should be characterized as ironic.

The “Click Here” text is one of the key signs of unprofessionalism on a website, and here is the conceptual equation to prove it: “Click Here” != Professionalism

(It should also be noted that there is a positive correlation between frequency of “Click Here” links and really, really bad design, but that is not the point here.)

The web has conventions. Conventions exist for a reason. Strategic developers and designers know how to utilize conventions to cut out excess fat, which ultimately leads to more elegant and more effective communication.

CONVENTION: Links are underlined and usually a different color.

Anyone that has used the Internet understands that when words are underlined, they posses the ability to be clicked. The action of clicking will deliver a new page or other expected feedback to the user. When the text “Click Here” is used, the understood link convention is not being utilized.

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When I was brushing my teeth the other day, I noticed that the cap on the toothpaste did not read “Twist Here To Open Toothpaste.” There is an understood convention by anyone that has opened a tube of toothpaste that to open, one must twist the cap. However, some futuristic toothpaste tubes (you know, the ones that stand on their own) often have flip-caps. These flip-caps usually have some sort of text or graphic to cue the user to flip the cap in order to open. The convention for the toothpaste tube interface (twisting the cap) is in violation of the actual interface in the case (flipping the cap), thus a cue needs to be present to increase usability. (However, the flip-cap is becoming used more often and consumers will eventually adopt the flip-cap as being a common convention - at which point, no cue will be needed).

On the web, it is very easy to cue the user that a link exists: links are underlined and colored. If this is true, no further cues need to exist. Any text that follows this convention will be understood to be a link. Thus, the “Click Here” text is not necessary.

Consider the following examples:

Old: Click here to watch a video of my son golfing.
New: Watch my son play golf
Or: My son and I golfed on Tuesday (watch the video)

Old: Click here to register.
New: Join the Community

Old: Click here to sign up for the email list.
New: Sign Up for the email list

Using web conventions to help your text links rather than adding excess text will help your website usability, and the world will be a happier place.

It should also be noted that users expect your links to be underlined and in a different color from the normal copy, otherwise the convention breaks and usability is tossed out the window.

Subscribe to the Anthology Creative blog to catch future articles about web design, development, and common sense.

 
 

TNM 07: Mind Your Banner Ads

By Nathan Moore
March 26, 2008
 

The New Mediology Logo

The next installment of The New Mediology has been pushed to the podcast. In this episode, Bill Seaver and I discuss advertising using banner ads:

  • When are they appropriate to use, if ever?
  • How do users feel about banner ads?
  • What is the return on investment?
  • And what are the best practices when you are required to advertise via banner ads.

Check out this episode at The New Mediology website, or to get this and all future episode goodness, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.