Articles

Topic: Navigation

Usability Testing of USA.gov Mega-Menus

November 16, 2010

Mega-dropdown menus mainly worked well in user testing, but vague images and poor topic organization caused very low success rates in some cases.

Mega-Menus Gone Wrong

November 16, 2010

Big 2-D drop-downs can facilitate site navigation - if they're properly designed. Two examples illustrate some mega-menu usability pitfalls.

Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die

October 4, 2010

Ordinal sequences, logical structuring, time lines, or prioritization by importance or frequency are usually better than A-Z listings for presenting options to users.

Tag Cloud Examples

March 24, 2009

Tag clouds are overused. While looking pretty, they use screen space inefficiently, and many users don't know how to use them.

Mega Menus Work Well for Site Navigation

March 23, 2009

A mega menu (a big, 2-dimensional drop-down panel) groups navigation options to eliminate scrolling and use typography, icons, and tooltips to explain users' choices.

Interaction Elasticity

December 15, 2008

Usage goes down as interaction costs increase. User motivation determines how fast demand drops, following an elasticity curve.

Site Map Usability

September 2, 2008

New user testing of site maps shows that they are still useful as a secondary navigation aide, and that they're much easier to use than they were during our research 7 years ago.

Tabs, Used Right

September 17, 2007

13 design guidelines for tab controls are all followed by Yahoo Finance, but usability suffers from AJAX overkill and difficult customization.

Breadcrumb Navigation Increasingly Useful

April 10, 2007

One line of text shows a page's location in the site hierarchy. User testing shows many benefits and no downsides to breadcrumbs for secondary navigation.

Avoid Within-Page Links

February 21, 2006

On the Web, users have a clear mental model for a hypertext link: it should bring up a new page. Within-page links violate this model and thus cause confusion.

Reviving Advanced Hypertext

January 3, 2005

To manage a huge, worldwide information space, users need proven features like fat links, typed links, integrated search and browsing, overview maps, big-screen designs, and physical hypertext.

Situate Follow-Ups in Context

December 20, 2004

Make new or follow-up information easily accessible from the location of the original information or transaction.

Deceivingly Strong Information Scent Costs Sales

August 2, 2004

Users will often overlook the actual location of information or products if another website area seems like the perfect place to look. Cross-references and clear labels alleviate this problem.

Guidelines for Visualizing Links

May 10, 2004

Textual links should be colored and underlined to achieve the best perceived affordance of clickability, though there are a few exceptions to these guidelines.

Change the Color of Visited Links

May 3, 2004

People get lost and move in circles when websites use the same link color for visited and new destinations. To reduce navigational confusion, select different colors for the two types of links.

Gateway Pages Prevent PDF Shock

July 28, 2003

Spare your users the misery of being dumped into PDF files without warning. Create special gateway pages that summarize the contents of big documents and guide users gently into the PDF morass.

Reduce Redundancy: Decrease Duplicated Design Decisions

June 9, 2002

User interface complexity increases when a single feature or hypertext link is presented in multiple ways. Users rarely understand duplicates as such, and often waste time repeating efforts or visiting the same page twice by mistake.

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