Re: Web admin duties

Subject: Re: Web admin duties
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe1 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001 09:52:55 -0800 (PST)

--- Sandy Harris <sandy -at- storm -dot- ca> wrote:
> Frames were number one in a "top ten mistakes in web
> design" article a few
> years back:
> I think that has changed, but they're still "use
> with caution".

The use of frames is not quite so debated today. The
article you quote is by Jakob Nielson, who has been
cited as a Web usability guru for years.

The debate over "usability" has split into two groups:
the Spartans and the Designers.

The Spartans advocate fast download time over
everything - therefore the page should be mostly text
(in strict HTML). They prefer that images be avoided,
but will allow the use of small ones. Jakob falls into
this category.

The Designers have a "let me do what I want to"
attitude. They want the site to look good and don't
worry about download times, et cetera.

Personally, I believe the answer is somewhere in
between (and totally depends on the audience). The
Spartan approach is best if you're designing a Website
for users with low-end technology; the Designer
approach works for people with DSL or cable access.

For the rest of us, keeping it simple is the best
principle - that includes considering download times.
Most important, however, is navigation - clear signals
that tells the user where he is and where he can go.

BTW, I wrote my thesis on Web Design, and quoted
Nielson several times throughout it. I then used his
Website in a study of Web usability - and it was the
lowest scorer across the board. Most of my test group
- mostly composed of new users - said they would not
return to the site; it didn't give clear signals as to
intent or navigation.

Jeff Hanvey

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