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DESIGN USABILITY

More Website Knick Knack


In our second article about useless clutter on websites, Chris Heilmann focuses on websites that try to reinvent the wheel, features that offer a quick "wow" and little else, and more. Are you guilty of inflicting website knick knack on your visitors? Take a look at the included check list and find out.

Author Info:
By: Chris Heilmann
Rating: 2 stars2 stars2 stars2 stars2 stars / 77
December 13, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · More Website Knick Knack
  2. · Why to stick to the tried-and-true
  3. · The site in the site
  4. · The Russian doll symptom
  5. · Changing the cursor
  6. · Baring it all
  7. · Forewarned is forearmed

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More Website Knick Knack - The site in the site
(Page 3 of 7 )

Another example of replicating existing behavior is Web sites that keep a whole site within one document – either by hiding and showing page sections via DHTML, as one big flash movie or via frames. Seemingly, this is a great idea, as visitors load the page once and go from there. With Flash or dynamic loading we don’t even have to load the whole document, but retrieve bits “on demand.”

What these solutions do though, is change the visitor’s browsing experience. When we surf the Web, and end up on a page we didn’t want to go to, the automatic reaction is to use the back button or the keyboard shortcut that brings us to the last, cached, page. When we don’t allow the browser to jump from page to page, thus adding them to the history list, going back will initialize the site. The visitor will have to start over again, and search where she has been before. This can be quite frustrating, especially when the visitor needed to provide data at some stage. Many a hack tries to work around this problem, all of them dependent on scripting or hidden IFRAMES or other ugly cheats.

It takes some users a long time to get accustomed to the idea of browsing the Web, and we expect them to be very interested indeed if we want to make them forget what they have learned.

Browser history and setting of bookmarks are powerful tools that should not be disabled.


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