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Usability is Important

Your users will not always realize why a site seems/feels unprofessional unless they went to design school. Principles such as some of the ones we mention below, even if not known or understood by your average web user, do affect what people think of your web site.

Here are some of the basic ground rules we use, mostly revolving around being kind to the user:

Kind

Unkind

FEW simple choices on each screen. Elegance usually means "less".

Large, readable fonts with high contrast to the background. A good rule is to left justify all text for a neat, clean, and easy-to-read look.
See: Why Sans Serif Is Usually Better.

Easy to find Contact Us page.

Content text talks about customer NOT self. Short and sweet.

Fast download.

Site is built accessible for the disabled.

Button for turning off any sounds and skipping animated intro.

Jakob Nielsen's take on good design
Center-justified text is hard to read because both left and right edge are "ragged" (inconsistent), creating more work for the eyes and brain. For this and other reasons, most center justification went out of style in the late 1980's. At this time, a movement was led by large American law firms to increase readability of legal documents. Centered headings and tabs at the beginning of paragraphs became passe. This practice spread and became common.

Show how big shot a company you are by filling every bit of screen space with content and links.

Much type is bold. Then more has to be bold in order to get equal attention. It's like walking into a room where everyone is yelling. You have to yell to be heard.

Popup ads, etc. You pay a price in usability for every ad on your site. Ads are annoying and the price is not worth it. Be kind to your users and they will be kind to you.

Examples of bad design from usability perspective



If you are thinking about paying more for a Usability Study: Usability studies as part of the design process will increase the effectiveness of your web site. At Ocean Media our designers often work closely with a usability specialist in creating a web site where users want to come again and again.
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