“Write for the Web” and “Don’t Make Me Think” Responses

Points Discussed In The Two Readings

  1. “Shape your text for online reading.”

When designing a web page it’s important to layout the content in a way that makes it quick and easy for a viewer to get the information they are looking for. Part of knowing how to layout the information is knowing where people tend to look at webpage the most (the main section and the top of the page, typically) and then shaping the text on the site to put the most important information in the most viewed areas.

  1. “Get to the point.”

When people look at a web page, they want to be able to quickly understand what the page is about and how to get the information they are looking for from it. The longer it takes them to figure out where the information they are looking for on the page is, the more frustrated they become with the website.

  1. “Make the text easy to scan.”

Most people never take the time to fully read though all the content on a webpage, but rather they scan across the page looking for key words and phrases are match their interest for being on the website. Because of that, the text on a page should be clear and simple and easy to scan, so the users can get what they are looking for quickly and easily.

  1. “Help people navigate.”

How people interact with a website through the navigating is a huge factor in determining how good of an experience the website is providing. The main navigation from page to page should be consistent, and any links in the content sections should be clearly labeled and interest the user in continuing to navigate around the site.

  1. “We don’t read pages. We scan them.”

People usually visit websites with a certain goal in mind, and they are usually not interested in anything else the website offers that isn’t a part of that goal. So when view a webpage we block out anything that seems irrelevant and only focus on the areas that will help up achieve our goal.

  1. “We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.”

When faces with a lot of options on a webpage, people usually just click the first one that look like it might satisfy their need, rather than weigh out multiple options. This is probably because people don’t want to spend extra time on a webpage if they don’t have to, and it’s probably still quicker to click the “back” button if the first option was wrong than to continue to weigh multiple options.

  1. “We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.”

Most people don’t care to take the time and learn how to use things properly. Usually people will start using a new piece of technology they are able to muddle along and figure out a way to use it on their own that may or may not be the proper way, but as long as it’s working for the user they generally wont care.

  1. “Conventions are your friends.”

Designed objects typically follow certain conventions in order to make it easier for users from all different backgrounds to easily understand how the object works, and this is the same for websites as they also will see very a very diverse set of users. Some of the main conventions for web design are to keep the navigation in the same general area of a page and using familiar icons.

  1. “Create effective visual hierarchies.”

Visual hierarchies are very important for helping uses navigate the page and quickly scan the information to pick out what they are looking for. Some keys to creating good visual hierarchies for web pages are to keep the most important things in the most prominent positions on the page, visually link things that are similar (like listed items), and nest things visually to show that it is a part of a larger section.

  1. “Break up pages into clearly defined areas.”

Dividing the content on a page into sections helps a user scan the page easier and quickly decide which sections they should pay more attention to. And because users scan pages very quickly it is important that each section is clear and easy to understand at just a glance.

  1. “Make it obvious what’s clickable.

There are some standard ways that web designers separate out clickable links from basic text by changing the color, underlining it, or styling it to look like an actual button. Sometimes those things don’t always look the best with the overall design, but it’s still important to separate links form normal text in some way to prevent user frustration.

  1. “Keep the noise down to a dull roar.”

Too much visual noise on a webpage can make it much harder for users to navigate, or make their experience on the webpage more frustrating than it should be. Some types of visual noise are when there are too many elements on a page that are demanding the users attention (like lots of bright animated ads), disorganization with a page layout that makes it difficult to easily scan, and adding in too many unimportant elements that make it harder for the user to find what they are looking for.


Site Evaluation One: Amazon

“We don’t read pages. We scan them.”

I think it’s safe to day that most people that visit amazon.com do so knowing exactly what they are looking for, and the rest of the people that visit at least have a general idea of what it is they way, like a new book. To help make it easy to find the links we need from the home page, the design really cuts down on any extra text. Almost every link on the page is described in one or two words. There are other larger elements like the center images and ads, but for the most part the links are easy enough to scan because they are located in easy to spot area, along the top of the page and along the bottom of the center ads.

“Create effective visual hierarchies.”

The hierarchy isn’t the most obvious though the design of most of the links on the page, probably because most options are equally useful to users, such as the “gift cards” and “today’s deals” links. There are a few options from the homepage that are at a slightly larger font size and bolded, like the “your account” and “your lists” options, which are easily the most important links on the page so it makes sense that they stand out a bit more. However they are also located in an area of the page where one would expect the main navigation and account options to be which also shows they are higher up in the hierarchy more than them being bolded does.


Site Evaluation Two: Wikipedia

“Help people navigate.”

Wikipedia is designed in a way that makes it very clear and easy to navigate from one page to another. The main way it does this is with each page having the exact same layout, which makes it easy to always find the main navigation menu on the left hand side. They also make it easy to navigate through an article by listing a “contents” menu under the main introduction section so users do not have to scroll though large pages of text to find the information they are looking for. Lastly, it’s easy to find the links to other articles from the text because the links are displayed in a blue font so the users always know which words are clickable and which are not.

“Break up pages into clearly defined areas.”

Being that Wikipedia pages are very minimal on design but heavy on text, it is important for it to be broken down into chunks. One of the better ways the Wikipedia designs their pages is that it usually has a short introduction section of text at the top of the article, and then there are more specific lists of information on the right, and the sections of the content listed below the info text. So for people looking for specific information, it is easy to know which specific area of the page they should check for exact information they are looking for.




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