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Web Design When The End-User Is A Person

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As more and more of the world logs on to Web, we know that now is not the time to experiment with design, or to assume what works in the real world works in the virtual world. It’s time to apply what we know works, and what works is entirely dependent upon the end-user.

Web Design When The End-User Is A Person
Don’t Forget About The Visitor…

Newspapers, for example, are having trouble transitioning to the Web because of a hundred years or so of entrenched physical world practices. The New York Times still doesn’t get, or doesn’t care enough, that users hate registration.

The Economist recently learned about the value of whitespace, but still hasn’t grasped how crucial page-load time is. Those beautiful serif fonts, perfect for print, won’t work on the Web either.

Advertisers have had the hardest transition because old-world thinking, until recently, has been applied, and each time that thinking pushes out a new method, it is met with virulent protest from users.

Spam yielded laws against it. Required registration for better stats has yielded online petitions. Pop-ups yield blockers. Pre-roll clips yield a closed video window. Post-roll clips yield a closed video window. Flash intros yield a closed window, a slower site, or rapid fire clicking of the “Skip Intro” button.

In a nutshell, old world thinking plus intrusive content equals fewer, angrier eyeballs. That’s because neither has the end-user in mind.

What We Know About People:

1. People are judgmental and make judgments quickly.

2. Annoyance and inconvenience are people’s chief enemies.

3. People have things to read, places to go; they’re busy.

4. People don’t like having to relearn navigation.

5. People don’t really care what you’re selling, but will listen if you approach them correctly.

6. For the majority, easier is better than harder.

7. People like things to work and keep working.

8. People have trouble paying attention.

9. 70% will abandon a site for any annoyance

10. Only 25% will say what the annoyance is

The Cold Hard Facts:

1. 83% dislike registration log-on pages blocking free content

2. 83% dislike slow-loading pages

3. You have four seconds to get that page loaded

4. You have 50 milliseconds to make a positive impression

5. 89% don’t like installing extra software

6. 80% are annoyed by ineffective site-search tools

7. Whitespace is your friend

8. Sans-serif fonts are essential; it takes 25% longer to read from a screen than from paper

9. Nobody likes to be pestered, invaded, or obstructed

10. 93% are annoyed by popup ads

11. 86% hate dead links

12. 84% are annoyed by confusing site navigation

To amend an earlier acronym, when designing a website or page for the people, remember the elements of the READ:

Realiability
Ease of navigation
Aesthetics
Discovery speed

Graphic design veteran Mark Boulton has an excellent explanation of the value and uses of whitespace. You should check it out.

Further reading:

Font Philosophy

The Four-Second Rodeo

Being E-Likeable

Usability For The Masses

What Bugs People

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