Saturday, March 12, 2005


Youthtopia's 26 Principles of Usability

In his bestselling book Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity (1999), Jakob Nielsen coined the phrase "Home-Run Websites". The term means: "websites that get repeat traffic from loyal users". He makes the essentials easy to remember with an acronym for H-O-M-E. Nielsen's principles are still valid, but six years have passed. I've updated his ideas with three more ideas: an acronym for R-U-N.

High-quality content
Often updated
Minimal download time
Ease of use
RSS enabled (any XML feeds)
Uses XHTML and CSS
Nice to look at

Web Usability might be defined as the art and science of answering four essential questions:

A. Who will be reading the website?
B. What elements or features are needed?
C. How should each of these elements/features look?
D. Where should each of these elements/features be placed?

Based on these questions, my own experience, and works on Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Steve Krug, here are 26 Usability Principles that make sense to me. Nielsen is a usability pioneer, to be sure; but as the web grows, his ideas (like everyone's) should be re-examined. At times he seems to advocate sameness in page design. A world of web sites that all look like clones of ... That's not for me. Web sites should be easy to use and yet unique, both in content and in style.

Youthtopia's 26 Usability Principles
Youthtopia's 26 Principles of Usability

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