Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design

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此篇来自于尼尔森最新的Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design,在2007年的升级中,尼尔森再次提出了十大网站设计错误。分别是:

1. Bad Search 

Overly literal search engines reduce usability in that they're unable to handle typos, plurals, hyphens, and other variants of the query terms. Such search engines are particularly difficult for elderly users, but they hurt everybody.

A related problem is when search engines prioritize results purely on the basis of how many query terms they contain, rather than on each document's importance. Much better if your search engine calls out "best bets" at the top of the list -- especially for important queries, such as the names of your products.

Search is the user's lifeline when navigation fails. Even though advanced search can sometimes help, simple search usually works best, and search should be presented as a simple box, since that's what users are looking for.

坏的搜索。尼尔森开始质疑起了搜索引擎,近年来的搜索引擎的确做的很火,往往 你搜索到一个关健词,搜索引擎按轻重缓急安排搜索结果时,确勿略了可用性。这里尼尔森举到了产品的例子,比如我想搜索的我自己的产品,但无关紧要的关健字 却排在了第一位。这的确是很失望的事情,想找重要的东西找不着。那么如果把重要的东西排在前面,即改变搜索引擎的机器算法,人工操作改善可用性。那是否背 离的搜索引擎的原则?

2. PDF Files for Online Reading

Users hate coming across a PDF file while browsing, because it breaks their flow. Even simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don't work. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which rarely matches the size of the user's browser window. Bye-bye smooth scrolling. Hello tiny fonts.

Worst of all, PDF is an undifferentiated blob of content that's hard to navigate.

PDF is great for printing and for distributing manuals and other big documents that need to be printed. Reserve it for this purpose and convert any information that needs to be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages.

在线阅读PDF文档。这个不得不说是“流氓行为”,尼尔森认 为在线阅读中断了用户的流程,可能用户就只是打印或下载文档。我是极为反感adobe的这种方式,但无疑,这也是一种给PDF格式的流行铺开道路的途径。 你可以认为方式这种是当年的hao123,现在转正为百度了。

3. Not Changing the Color of Visited Links

A good grasp of past navigation helps you understand your current location, since it's the culmination of your journey. Knowing your past and present locations in turn makes it easier to decide where to go next. Links are a key factor in this navigation process. Users can exclude links that proved fruitless in their earlier visits. Conversely, they might revisit links they found helpful in the past.
Most important, knowing which pages they've already visited frees users from unintentionally revisiting the same pages over and over again.

These benefits only accrue under one important assumption: that users can tell the difference between visited and unvisited links because the site shows them in different colors. When visited links don't change color, users exhibit more navigational disorientation in usability testing and unintentionally revisit the same pages repeatedly.


4. Non-Scannable Text

A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read.
Write for online, not print. To draw users into the text and support scannability, use well-documented tricks:

bulleted lists
highlighted keywords
short paragraphs
the inverted pyramid
a simple writing style, and
de-fluffed language devoid of marketese.


5. Fixed Font Size

CSS style sheets unfortunately give websites the power to disable a Web browser's "change font size" button and specify a fixed font size. About 95% of the time, this fixed size is tiny, reducing readability significantly for most people over the age of 40.
Respect the user's preferences and let them resize text as needed. Also, specify font sizes in relative terms -- not as an absolute number of pixels.

固 定字体大小。CSS可以控制字体的小大,我们大多在使用这一点使文字变为好看的宋体9px,但忽略了超过40岁用户的感受。同时也禁止掉了浏览器的“改变 字体大小”的功能。我老爸一直问我,这个站文字太小了,在看到不能改变的时候,我只能告诉老爸使用Maxthon的放大页面功能。


6. Page Titles With Low Search Engine Visibility

Search is the most important way users discover websites. Search is also one of the most important ways users find their way around individual websites. The humble page title is your main tool to attract new visitors from search listings and to help your existing users to locate the specific pages that they need.
The page title is contained within the HTML <title> tag and is almost always used as the clickable headline for listings on search engine result pages (SERP). Search engines typically show the first 66 characters or so of the title, so it's truly microcontent.

Page titles are also used as the default entry in the Favorites when users bookmark a site. For your homepage, begin the with the company name, followed by a brief description of the site. Don't start with words like "The" or "Welcome to" unless you want to be alphabetized under "T" or "W."

For other pages than the homepage, start the title with a few of the most salient information-carrying words that describe the specifics of what users will find on that page. Since the page title is used as the window title in the browser, it's also used as the label for that window in the taskbar under Windows, meaning that advanced users will move between multiple windows under the guidance of the first one or two words of each page title. If all your page titles start with the same words, you have severely reduced usability for your multi-windowing users.

Taglines on homepages are a related subject: they also need to be short and quickly communicate the purpose of the site.


7. Anything That Looks Like an Advertisement

Selective attention is very powerful, and Web users have learned to stop paying attention to any ads that get in the way of their goal-driven navigation. (The main exception being text-only search-engine ads.)
Unfortunately, users also ignore legitimate design elements that look like prevalent forms of advertising. After all, when you ignore something, you don't study it in detail to find out what it is.

Therefore, it is best to avoid any designs that look like advertisements. The exact implications of this guideline will vary with new forms of ads; currently follow these rules:

banner blindness means that users never fixate their eyes on anything that looks like a banner ad due to shape or position on the page
animation avoidance makes users ignore areas with blinking or flashing text or other aggressive animations
pop-up purges mean that users close pop-up windoids before they have even fully rendered; sometimes with great viciousness (a sort of getting-back-at-GeoCities triumph).

任何东西都看起来向广告。可用性和商业还是有冲突的,当我们 抛开商业模式谈广告,这是一门学问。这里探讨的是如何把广告变的更好的问题,我听说yahoo的广告是按点击率来算业绩的,我想,未来国内也是这样,很可 能会加上一点,用户体验更爽。但至少目前的广告不应该是两帧或三帧闪来闪去。

8. Violating Design Conventions

Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don't have to worry about what will happen. Instead, they know what will happen based on earlier experience. Every time you release an apple over Sir Isaac Newton, it will drop on his head. That's good.
The more users' expectations prove right, the more they will feel in control of the system and the more they will like it. And the more the system breaks users' expectations, the more they will feel insecure. Oops, maybe if I let go of this apple, it will turn into a tomato and jump a mile into the sky.

Jakob's Law of the Web User Experience states that "users spend most of their time on other websites."

This means that they form their expectations for your site based on what's commonly done on most other sites. If you deviate, your site will be harder to use and users will leave.

违反设计习惯。这里尼尔森谈的是继承的问题,我相信老大在深 圳UPA会上的讲话,比如:QQ的消息声音是不能改变的。这就是一个习惯的问题,已经有先前的习惯了,违反这个习惯是要负出代价的,当然,如果你有足够的 资金的化当我没说。前一段也有小案例,一个朋友把网站首页放到浏览器的右边了,我说这样的突破太大,很多用户会找不到的。这是一个设计习惯,也是一个用户 习惯的问题。

9. Opening New Browser Windows

Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer's carpet. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows, thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management).
Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. But even disregarding the user-hostile message implied in taking over the user's machine, the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites. Users often don't notice that a new window has opened, especially if they are using a small monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen. So a user who tries to return to the origin will be confused by a grayed out Back button.

Links that don't behave as expected undermine users' understanding of their own system. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content. Users hate unwarranted pop-up windows. When they want the destination to appear in a new page, they can use their browser's "open in new window" command -- assuming, of course, that the link is not a piece of code that interferes with the browser抯 standard behavior.


10. Not Answering Users' Questions

Users are highly goal-driven on the Web. They visit sites because there's something they want to accomplish -- maybe even buy your product. The ultimate failure of a website is to fail to provide the information users are looking for.
Sometimes the answer is simply not there and you lose the sale because users have to assume that your product or service doesn't meet their needs if you don't tell them the specifics. Other times the specifics are buried under a thick layer of marketese and bland slogans. Since users don't have time to read everything, such hidden info might almost as well not be there.

The worst example of not answering users' questions is to avoid listing the price of products and services. No B2C ecommerce site would make this mistake, but it's rife in B2B, where most "enterprise solutions" are presented so that you can't tell whether they are suited for 100 people or 100,000 people. Price is the most specific piece of info customers use to understand the nature of an offering, and not providing it makes people feel lost and reduces their understanding of a product line. We have miles of videotape of users asking "Where's the price?" while tearing their hair out.

Even B2C sites often make the associated mistake of forgetting prices in product lists, such as category pages or search results. Knowing the price is key in both situations; it lets users differentiate among products and click through to the most relevant ones.

不回答用户的问题。最痛心的是这一点,有时候并不是可用性的问 题,商业上不能做,不能告诉用户的观念占据了很大的程度。尼尔森在这里列举了购买产品的例子,在产品的页面中,用户往往不能完全了解产品,没有把握住用户 的心理是最失败的部分。我常和同事说flickr在删除相册夹有一个很好的提示,对心理抓的很准,而更巧妙的是,这个提示在操作中完成。

尼尔林从一九九六年就开始在alertbox里写Top ten,有兴趣的可以看下以前的内容。

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design(1996)
Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design(1999)
Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design(2002)
Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design(2003)
Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design(2005)


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