[thelist] GUI Web bloopers

Ron Jourard jourard at criminal-lawyer.on.ca
Sun Aug 13 16:23:17 CDT 2000

I just read the chapter on Web Design in GUI Bloopers by Jeff Johnson.
I thought some of the less obvious recommendations might be of
interest (and the subject of debate):

1. Users should be able to tell whether linked pages are internal or
external to the site;
2. Back button should have same effect on all pages (eg, on search
result pages and data pages, back button should return user to screen
immediately prior);
3. Display search criteria in search results preferably near the top
of the page. Ideally, the search criteria should remain visible even
when the user scrolls down the results list; don't display the
criteria in each and every listed found item;
4. Don't require users to choose between search options that are
meaningless to them (e.g., asking users to choose between "Literal
Text" and "Boolean" search syntax);
5. Use consistent link colours and don't mess with default link
6. Don't embed links in prose text: (I quote:) "Corporate Web sites
should be less chatty and verbose than personal Web sites. They should
also be designed for maximum clarity and usability. Therefore, the
"Click here for details" style is inappropriate for corporate Web
sites. For example, instead of "Click here for details," present the
link as "Details." Furthermore, don't bury links in prose paragraphs,
except perhaps in Help text documents. Place them adjacent to - but
visually separate from - the data to which they correspond."
7. Users need to be able to tell whether they have visited the
destination for a link by ensuring users can distinguish visited links
from unvisited ones (via link colours and text content);
8. Distinguish within-page and between-page links through careful
formatting. (I quote:) "It is possible, through careful positioning
and labeling, to make it clear to users that the destination of a
particular link is inside or outside of the current page." (eg
9. On-screen buttons should provide nearly instant visual feedback
that they have been pressed. Accordingly avoid image buttons; instead
use regular textual links, HTML form-submit buttons or Web GUI toolkit
10. If users must scroll down to access content, plant clues showing
there is content below the bottom edge of the browser window. Make
sure that important fixed content (eg, functions or info) is above the

Ron Jourard
Toronto, Canada
Tel. (416) 398-6685
Toll free (Canada and U.S.) 1-888-257-0002

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