Web UsabilityArticles & Videos

  • Popup Problems

    Popups and many kinds of modal dialogs are often intrusive user interface elements that get in the way of users' goals and cause annoyance. Here are some of the worst popup UX sins.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2020 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles published last year.

  • UX Guidelines for Augmented-Reality Shopping Tools

    Ecommerce AR tools are relatively new, so must be highly discoverable and easy to learn. Calibration issues run rampant, and users must dedicate focused attention to interact with this unfamiliar feature.

  • Faculty Pages on University Websites Persuade Prospective Students

    User research with prospective university students, ranging from kids still in high school to Ph.D. level grad students, found that they really want to know about the professors they'll be learning from, so when visiting university websites, these users (and their parents) scrutinized the faculty pages.

  • Information Scent

    Information foraging explains how users behave on the web and why they click certain links and not others. Information scent can be used to analyze how people assess a link and the page context surrounding the link to judge what's on the other end of the link.

  • Augmented Reality for Ecommerce: Is It Useful Yet?

    Augmented reality is an exciting technology, but the experience of using it is underwhelming, which hurts its overall perception of helpfulness.

  • Opening Links in New Browser Windows and Tabs

    Carefully examine the user’s context, task at hand, and next steps when deciding whether to open links to documents and external sites in the same or a new browser tab.

  • Jakob's Law of Internet User Experience

    What are the shortcomings of following Jakob's Law of Internet UX (which states that "users spend most of their time on other sites")?

  • Mask Interaction Delays with Progress Indicators

    In case of slow response times in a user interface, indicate that the wait time will soon be over by showing an animation. For longer delays use a percent-done indicator.

  • PDF: Still Unfit for Human Consumption, 20 Years Later

    Research spanning 20 years proves PDFs are problematic for online reading. Yet they’re still prevalent and users continue to get lost in them. They’re unpleasant to read and navigate and remain unfit for digital-content display.

  • Changes in Important Information-Seeking Behavior on the Internet Over 22 Years

    We studied the most important activities users perform on the internet, repeating an old classic study. Users' most critical behaviors have shifted substantially over 22 years, due to more information available online and the constant presence of mobile devices.

  • Better Forms Through Visual Organization

    How to organize and lay out your form fields and their labels to make data entry easier for users.

  • Avoid PDF for On-Screen Reading

    Forcing users to browse PDF files causes frustration and slow task completion, compared to standard webpages. Use PDF only for documents that users will print. In those cases, following 10 basic guidelines will minimize usability problems.

  • Biggest Wins and Fails in 25 Years of UX Columns

    From 1995 to 2001 Jakob Nielsen wrote 250 articles with early usability insights that are still true but also contained predictions for aspirational changes that didn’t happen.

  • The Need for Speed, 23 Years Later

    In spite of an increase in Internet speed, webpage speeds have not improved over time.

  • Listboxes vs. Dropdown Lists

    Listboxes and dropdowns are compact UI controls that allow users to select options. Listboxes expose options right away and support multi-selection while dropdowns require a click to see options and support only single-selection.

  • Passive Information Acquisition on the Increase

    People increasingly discover critical information online without actively searching for it, but such information has poor context and may have credibility issues.

  • Risk of Copying Famous Companies' Designs

    If a website or company is big and famous, should you copy their design for your own site? Likely not, because good UX depends on context, and your situation could be quite different than a world-famous company's circumstances.

  • Stop Counting Clicks: The 3 Click Rule is Nonsense

    Users want to do the least amount of work possible to get to a desired web page. However, "work" is the sum of difficulty presented by each click and not the number of clicks in itself. Here are some tips for making a path easier to navigate.

  • Website Design in High-Context Cultures like China

    The contrast between low-context and high-context cultures has substantial implications for web designs that target users in different countries. Examples from eyetracking research in China (a high-context culture) illustrate this point.

  • The Immutable Rules of UX (Jakob Nielsen Keynote)

    Jakob Nielsen's keynote at the Las Vegas UX Conference discussed the foundational principles of user experience that are stable decade after decade.

  • 5 Tips for Effective Online Advertising

    How to include ads on websites and interactive environments without undermining the user experience.

  • Usability in the Physical World vs. on the Web

    In the real world, you can get away with causing customers a small amount of difficulty, but on a website, visitors will leave at the smallest obstacle.

  • Page Parking: Multi-Tab Obsession Common Among Millennials

    People open numerous tabs in rapid succession as a strategy to save time. The tabs serve as a memory aid.

  • The Fold Manifesto: How to Encourage Scrolling

    The page fold still matters and still applies. Even though the exact location of the fold differs between devices, it exists for every single user on every single screen.

  • Don't Be Fooled by Surface-Level Design (Jakob Nielsen)

    Look beyond surface-level qualities to assess UX value. A design that looks (or sounds) good does not mean that it is. Good websites contain engaging features that help people accomplish their goals.

  • Making Flat Design Usable

    The hazards of flat design and 5 key UX guidelines for making flat design usable.

  • Jakob's Law of Internet User Experience

    Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. Design for patterns for which users are accustomed.

  • Flat Design Decreases User Efficiency

    Though aesthetically appealing, flat designs often force users to guess which elements are interactive, leading to increased user errors and frustration.

  • Web UX 2016 vs 2004 (Keynote address)

    Jakob Nielsen提供了一个罕见的纵向研究of 12 years' evolution in web usability, from the UX Conference in London.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2020 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles published last year.

  • UX Guidelines for Augmented-Reality Shopping Tools

    Ecommerce AR tools are relatively new, so must be highly discoverable and easy to learn. Calibration issues run rampant, and users must dedicate focused attention to interact with this unfamiliar feature.

  • Augmented Reality for Ecommerce: Is It Useful Yet?

    Augmented reality is an exciting technology, but the experience of using it is underwhelming, which hurts its overall perception of helpfulness.

  • Opening Links in New Browser Windows and Tabs

    Carefully examine the user’s context, task at hand, and next steps when deciding whether to open links to documents and external sites in the same or a new browser tab.

  • PDF: Still Unfit for Human Consumption, 20 Years Later

    Research spanning 20 years proves PDFs are problematic for online reading. Yet they’re still prevalent and users continue to get lost in them. They’re unpleasant to read and navigate and remain unfit for digital-content display.

  • Avoid PDF for On-Screen Reading

    Forcing users to browse PDF files causes frustration and slow task completion, compared to standard webpages. Use PDF only for documents that users will print. In those cases, following 10 basic guidelines will minimize usability problems.

  • Biggest Wins and Fails in 25 Years of UX Columns

    From 1995 to 2001 Jakob Nielsen wrote 250 articles with early usability insights that are still true but also contained predictions for aspirational changes that didn’t happen.

  • The Need for Speed, 23 Years Later

    In spite of an increase in Internet speed, webpage speeds have not improved over time.

  • Listboxes vs. Dropdown Lists

    Listboxes and dropdowns are compact UI controls that allow users to select options. Listboxes expose options right away and support multi-selection while dropdowns require a click to see options and support only single-selection.

  • Passive Information Acquisition on the Increase

    People increasingly discover critical information online without actively searching for it, but such information has poor context and may have credibility issues.

  • How to Film and Photograph Online Content for Usability: UX Details for Videos and Images

    考虑你的听众将如何使用visuals to determine the optimal camera angle, set the right tone, choose the right props, and maintain attention.

  • Information Scent: How Users Decide Where to Go Next

    When deciding which links to click on the web, users choose those with the highest information scent — which is a mix of cues that they get from the link label, the context in which the link is shown, and their prior experiences.

  • Dark Mode vs. Light Mode: Which Is Better?

    In people with normal vision (or corrected-to-normal vision), visual performance tends to be better with light mode, whereas some people with cataract and related disorders may perform better with dark mode. On the flip side, long-term reading in light mode may be associated with myopia.

  • How Information-Seeking Behavior Has Changed in 22 Years

    We organize online information-seeking activities that lead to important decisions and actions according to 5 dimensions: purpose, method, content, social interaction, and device used to carry out the activity.

  • Videos as Instructional Content: User Behaviors and UX Guidelines

    Instructional video content is helpful as supplementary information, though not all users will watch it. Videos should be easily discoverable, consistent in style across the site, and with thumbnails that accurately represent the type of content they provide.

  • The Risks of Imitating Designs (Even from Successful Companies)

    Even great companies make mistakes. Don’t risk your UX by assuming it’s safe to follow a design pattern just because it’s used by a successful company.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2019 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles that we published last year.

  • Mental Models for Cloud-Storage Systems

    Users have a rudimentary understanding of cloud services and attempt to fit them into their existent, simpler mental models that they had formed for similar, more-traditional services.

  • 10 Ways to Use Exit-Intent Popups to Improve UX

    Exit-intent popups can provide a good customer experience and offer benefits to users who are about to leave a website.

  • Usability for Seniors: Challenges and Changes

    Users ages 65 and older face unique challenges when using websites and apps. Digital literacy among this demographic is rising, but designs need to accommodate aging users.