Articles

Topic: Web Usability

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  • URL as UI

    March 21, 1999

    Users continue to type and guess URLs and domain names, so Web usability can be improved by better URLs. In the long term this machine-level addressing scheme must be hidden.

    Why People Shop on the Web

    February 7, 1999

    A survey of 1,780 people who have bought something on the Web found that convenience and ease of use are the main reasons to shop on the Web. Non-buying visits (product research) are important to shoppers.

    Predictions for the Web in 1999

    December 27, 1998

    Mobile access becomes 3rd Killer App for the Internet, Web standards rebound, customer service is automated, e-commerce patents are issued, and the Web has its own Y2K problems

    Why Yahoo is Good (But May Get Worse)

    November 1, 1998

    Yahoo has great usability and huge traffic because it embraces the characteristics of the Internet medium: minimalist design and many structured links. But Yahoo may not scale to keep up with the growth of the net.

    Failure of Corporate Websites

    October 18, 1998

    Most corporate sites are so bad that Web usability problems cost a large company millions of dollars per year. On average, users fail when they try to accomplish tasks on the Web.

    Nielsen's Law of Internet Bandwidth

    April 5, 1998

    Users' bandwidth grows by 50% per year (10% less than Moore's Law for computer speed). The new law fits data from 1983 to 2014.

    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.

    Changes in Web Usability Since 1994

    December 1, 1997

    Most findings about Web usability from 1994 continue to hold. Scrolling pages and imagemaps are less of a problem; users now demand comprehensive sites.

    Effective Use of Style Sheets

    July 1, 1997

    CSS promotes site consistency and improved usability if linked (not embedded), centrally designed (not by page authors), and actively evangelized with example-rich style manuals. Respect user preferences.

    The Telephone is the Best Metaphor for the Web

    May 15, 1997

    The telephone is a better metaphor than television for thinking about the Web and its potential: the Web is a 1-to-1, narrowcast, low bandwidth medium that is user-driven and where everybody can publish content.

    TV Meets the Web

    February 15, 1997

    Comparing the nature of the Web as a medium when accessed through television sets and when accessed through computers, concluding that the level of user engagement is a main differentiator

    Trends for the Web in 1997

    January 1, 1997

    Two major trends will revive the Web as a useful tool beyond the current hype and uselessness.

    Marginalia of Web Design

    November 1, 1996

    Some "minor" details of web design--such as font size, text color, and image cropping-- can have important consequences for Web usability.

    Original Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design

    May 1, 1996

    This article has attracted millions of page views since it was written in 1996, but most sites *still* commit these basic usability bloopers.

    Kill the 53-Day Meme

    September 1, 1995

    One frequently finds newspaper articles about the Internet or the World Wide Web stating that the number of servers on the WWW is doubling every 53 days. I don't believe in the 53-day estimate any more.

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