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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Web site design rule of thumb - "Your Goal should be for each page to be self explanatory"

"Your Goal should be for each page to be self explanatory" (This is based on my reading from the referred text, my insights, recommendations)

The above sentence from the section on page 18, is the key towards not making users think what each feature/functionality is for. The idea here is to structure and design the web page elements so that they could explain the intended use or functionality by look and feel.

Several examples can be provided that highlight this aspect of effective web-page design. A good example being the concept of a home page. Looking at the home page, the user should be able to understand that it is the home page and should be able to grasp the underlying business or purpose of the organization. A poorly designed web-site's home page might look cluttered with all sorts of information and advertisements that it keeps user thinking about what that page is intended for and what kind of business the company is into. Where as, when we look at the home page of a (just an example, not real world), users could immediately identify that it is the home page where he can explore for more info about the company. The home page would be well designed with distinct sections (identified by related images - eg: Fine Food or Weekly specials or Online shopping etc) telling user that the company specializes in Fine Food and provides online information about its offers and in addition, supports online shopping.

Another example that drives the concept home are the clickable links and buttons, which needs to be easily identifiable as clickable. For example, on some websites, the online shopping cart and the top menu bar items doesn't toggle on mouse over nor does they show alternate text. The user is confused as whether he should click or what is the use of text item. Again, use of the intended 'Go' image is not intuitive since the 'triangle' image denotes a 'play' action.

Yet another example is the page design which conveys the message where the user currently is and how to get back where he was before. On most poorly desinged web-sites, this concept is not well implemented and there is no relation between the sub-menu items and the main-page sections that they denote. would take steps towards implementing this vital aspect of satisfactory user experience. All sections would be easily navigable back and forth and tells the user where he is currently and how to go to other main/sub sections.


Krug S. (2005). Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.

(c) Deepesh Joseph, 2004-2009

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