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Web Design


Spaghetti Junction

Spaghetti Junction - it's easy to get lost.

People don’t like to feel lost so make sure they know where they are on every section of your site – they shouldn’t have to think about it.

  • show your logo in the same place on each page and make it a link to your home page
  • give each page a meaningful title - this also helps users find it in their bookmark list
  • show the site’s structure and highlight the current page
  • don’t use JavaScript or Flash navigation systems – visitors will be disorientated if they don’t have it installed

Help people find what they need quickly and easily – if they can’t, they’ll leave.

  • don’t be radical, use conventions that people are familiar with
  • if you have a lot of pages provide a search box at the top of each page and label it ‘search’
  • keep links blue and underlined (controversial especially in navigation systems)
  • don’t underline text that can’t be clicked
  • don’t create orphan pages – offer people a further place to visit
  • ensure links work and the information they point to is updated
  • don’t be ambiguous with section titles, make it obvious where to look for an item

It’s good to know where you’ve been on a site – it’s annoying when you visit the same page 3 times because you didn’t know you’d already seen it.

  • keep visited links purple and underlined – again controversial
  • breadcrumbs can be useful for back-tracking to a particular section

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Jakob Nielson
Jakob Nielsen is a Danish web usability consultant. He writes a fortnightly newsletter, Alertbox, on web design matters and has published several books on the subject of web design.

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