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Topic: Navigation

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.

Deep Linking is Good Linking

March 3, 2002

Links that go directly to a site's interior pages enhance usability because, unlike generic links, they specifically relate to users' goals. Websites should encourage deep linking and follow three guidelines to support its users.

Official Winter Olympics Site: Not Even Bronze

February 17, 2002

An early tweaking raised the Salt Lake City website to 70% compliance with homepage usability guidelines. Inside the site, however, task support falls far below medal contention.

Site Map Usability, 1st study

January 6, 2002

Most site maps fail to convey multiple levels of the site's information architecture. In usability tests, users often overlook site maps or can't find them. Complexity is also a problem: a map should be a map, not a navigational challenge of its own.

DVD Menu Design: The Failures of Web Design Recreated Yet Again

December 9, 2001

Designers of DVDs have failed to profit from the lessons of previous media. DVD menu structures are baroque, less usable, less pleasurable, less effective. It is time to take DVD design as seriously as we do web design. The field needs discipline, attention, to the User Experience, and standardization of control and display formats.

Drop-Down Menus: Use Sparingly

November 12, 2000

Drop-down menus are often more trouble than they are worth and can be confusing because Web designers use them for several different purposes. Also, scrolling menus reduce usability when they prevent users from seeing all their options in a single glance.

Is Navigation Useful?

January 9, 2000

Web users go straight for content and ignore navigation areas. Limited structural navigation and local navigation still help, but general navigation should be avoided and generic links minimized to the truly useful.

When Bad Design Elements Become the Standard

November 14, 1999

Anything done by more than 90% of big sites becomes a de-facto design standard that must be followed unless an alternative design achieves 100% increased usability.

iCab: New Browser With Structural Navigation

February 23, 1999

iCab, a web browser introduced in 1999, uses the LINK tags from the page headers to provide additional navigation links to the users. This structural navigation provides a valuable alternative to users.

2D is Better Than 3D

November 15, 1998

People are not frogs, making it difficult to navigate 3D computer spaces: stick to 2D for most navigation designs. Shun virtual reality gimmicks that distract from users' goals

Sun Microsystem's 1997 Web Design

January 13, 1998

The 1997 redesign of the Sun Microsystems' Web site aimed to improve the visual appearance, ease of navigation, and performance of the Web site.

Features for the Next Generation of Web Browsers

July 1, 1995

There is now a profusion of choices when it comes to web browsers, and market shares can change rapidly. The only certain trend on the Internet and WWW is that change happens so quickly that it is impossible to predict what will happen. Even so, the following changes ought to happen, so hopefully they will be the next trends.

Navigating Large Information Spaces

January 1, 1995

This chapter from Jakob Nielsen's 1995 book Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond explores a variety of mechanisms for helping users navigate in digital environments including history lists, bookmarks, overview diagrams, and navigational dimensions and metaphors.

Architectural Component of Hypertext Systems

January 1, 1995

Hypertext systems include a Presentation level, a Hypertext Abstract Machine (HAM) level, and a Database level. The following sections describe each of the levels in further detail, starting at the bottom. (Chapter 5 from Jakob Nielsen's book, Multimedia and Hypertext.)

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