Never forget that usability lessons can be learned from virtually anything you use. This concept has been discussed extensively in Don Norman’s famous book, and I thought I’d discuss something specific in this area in this post.
Last week I sent out a tweet regarding an annoyance with USB plugs.
When you code a button or other clickable element, you need to also define a comfortable click area. Depending on the context and the design, this can sometimes be a challenge. Let’s look at a few examples in a short case study, so we can see the various ways this can be done.
Some navigation bars that I’ve seen are quite paradoxical in the click area they define. Look at the screen shot below showing the main nav bar for WebProNews.
I don’t mind drop-down menus. They give designers and information architects options for using screen space wisely. But I think many sites do themselves a disfavour by using them in an inconsistent manner.
The popular travel site Carnival Cruise Lines is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I love the design of their site. For a travel website, it’s very good; it’s clean, and professionally designed. But I have one small problem with their drop-down menus.
Here’s a nice lesson for web app designers and developers, to help streamline the user’s progress when interacting with your application.
In many cases, it’s enough to log users in and then redirect them to the main screen of the app, where they can then choose what they want to do. It’s also good practice to send them back to whatever screen they were on before they logged in, instead of just sending them to the main screen.
But here’s a way to handle a user log-in when the user has not yet interacted with your pages, as shown below from PayPal:
There are some cases during the user experience where preloading content is not a good idea.
For example, if the user is faced with multiple options as to what content he will choose, then it would not be a good decision to preload all content. This would add unnecessary HTTP requests and bandwidth for both client and server, and would degrade the user experience.