Intro to web design
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Intro To Web Design. MSIT 588 Dr. Carl Rebman. Good Web Site Design Matters. NY Times, Aug 30 1999, on IBM Web site “Most popular feature was … search … because people couldn't figure out how to navigate the site“

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Intro to web design

Intro To Web Design

MSIT 588

Dr. Carl Rebman

Good web site design matters

Good Web Site Design Matters

  • NY Times, Aug 30 1999, on IBM Web site

    • “Most popular feature was … search … because people couldn't figure out how to navigate the site“

    • “The second most popular feature was the help button, because the search technology was so ineffective.”

  • After redesign

    • use of the "help" button decreased 84 percent

    • sales increased 400 percent

Good Web Site Design can Lead to Healthy Sales



  • Overview of Basic Web Design

  • Web Design Patterns

Basic web design

Basic Web Design

  • Let's take a closer look page by page

Intro to web design

  • What site is this?

    • Logo in top-left corner denotes the site

    • Another logo at top-right to reinforce

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  • What kind of site is this?

    • Shopping cart icon

    • Tab row content

    • Categories on left

    • Prices in content area

Intro to web design

  • What can I do here?

    • Welcome for new visitors

    • Tab row / Search on top

    • “Categories”

    • Prices

    • All links are clear

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  • Above the Fold

    • Most important info visible without scrolling

Intro to web design

  • What site am I at?

    • Logo in upper-left reinforces brand, can click to go to home

    • Same font, layout, color scheme also reinforces

Intro to web design

  • Where am I in the site?

    • “Home > Music” are location breadcrumbs

    • Tab row says “Music”

    • Album cover, “Product Highlights”, and CD cover

Intro to web design

  • What can I do?

    • See more info about this album

    • “Buy!” “Buy!” “Buy!”

    • See more info about specific CDs

Intro to web design

  • Can I trust these sellers?

    • Who am I buying from?

    • Are they reputable?

    • What about shipping?

Intro to web design

  • The Fold

    • Hmm, what’s below here?

Intro to web design

  • Impulse buy

    • Recommended products

  • About this album

  • Lots of unused whitespace

  • Still more info below…

Intro to web design

  • Is this product any good?

    • Editorial reviews

    • Customer reviews

  • Some important info below the fold here

    • Nothing critical though

Intro to web design

  • What site am I at?

    • Logo in upper-left

    • Colors, layout, font

Intro to web design

  • Where am I in the site?

    • Last link clicked was “Buy!”

    • “Shopping Cart” and “Proceed to Checkout” reinforce that this is “the right page”

Intro to web design

  • Cross-selling

    • Possibly a pleasant surprise

    • Impulse buy

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  • What am I going to buy?

    • Easy to remove

    • Easy to move to wishlist

  • How much will it cost?

    • Shipping costs there, no nasty surprises

Intro to web design

  • What can I do?

    • “Proceed to Checkout” action button

      • Visually distinct

      • 3D, looks clickable

      • Repeated above and below the fold

Intro to web design

  • What if I don’t have a User ID?

  • What if I forgot my password?

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  • Error message

    • Small, hard to see

    • Too far away from where people will be looking

    • Page looks too similar to last page (did anything happen?)

Intro to web design

  • What site?

    • Logo, layout, color, fonts

  • Where in site?

    • Checkout, step 1 of 3

    • “Choose shipping address”

Intro to web design

  • Note what’s different

    • No tab rows

    • No impulse buys

    • Only navigation on page takes you to next step

  • This is a Process Funnel

    • Extraneous info and links removed to focus users

Quick flow checkouts

Quick-Flow Checkouts

Quick flow checkouts1

Quick-Flow Checkouts

  • Last step of process

    • Step 3, “Place Order”

    • “Place my order” button

  • Two buttons for fold

Quick flow checkouts2

Quick-Flow Checkouts

  • No nasty surprises

    • Can see order

    • Total price is same as shopping cart

Quick flow checkouts3

  • Easy to change shipping and billing

  • Easy to save this info

    • Easier to setup info in context of specific task instead of setup first

    • Clearer to users why this info is needed in former

Quick-Flow Checkouts

Design patterns

Design Patterns

  • Design is about finding solutions

    • Unfortunately, designers often reinvent

      • Hard to know how things were done before & to reuse solutions

  • Design patterns communicate common design problems & solutions

    • First used in architecture [Alexander]

    • Ex. How to create a beer hall where people socialize?

Design patterns1

Design Patterns

Design patterns2

Design Patterns

  • Not too general & not too specific

    • Use solution “a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice”

  • Design patterns are a shared language

    • A language for “building and planning towns, neighborhoods, houses, gardens, and rooms.”

    • Ex. Beer hall is part of a center for public life…

    • Ex. Beer hall needs spaces for groups to be alone…

Design patterns3

Design Patterns

(8) Mosaic of Subcultures


& Towns

(33) Night Life

(31) Promenade

(90) Beer Hall



(95) Building Complex


(179) Alcoves

(181) The Fire

Web design patterns

Web Design Patterns

  • Now used in Web design [van Duyne, Landay, & Hong]

    • book shipping this week

    • published by Addison-Wesley

  • Communicate design problems & solutions

    • how to create navigation bars for finding relevant content…

    • how to create a shopping cart that supports check out…

    • how to make e-commerce sites where people return & buy…

Web design patterns book

Patterns broken into related groups

Site genres

Navigational framework

Home page

Content management

Trust and credibility

Basic ecommerce

Advanced ecommerce

Completing tasks

Page layouts


Page-level navigation


Web Design Patterns Book

Process funnel h1

Process Funnel (H1)

  • Problem – Need a way to help people complete highly specific stepwise tasks

  • Desktop Solution

Process funnel h11

Process Funnel (H1)

  • Web Solution

    • “Next” to step forward

    • “Back” to undo

Process funnel h12

Screen 1

(Step 1)

Screen 2

(Step 2)

Screen N

(Step N)

Process Funnel (H1)

  • Some problems

    • How much longer before I finish?

    • Why are there ads and nav bars?

    • What if users need extra help?

Process funnel h13

Process Funnel (H1)

  • Problem – How much longer?

  • Solution – Progress bars

Process funnel h14

Process Funnel (H1)

  • Problem – Why ads and nav bars?

  • Solution – Remove them and present minimal interface

  • New problem – What site?

  • Solution – Keep the logo, layout, colors

Process funnel h15

Process Funnel (H1)

  • Problem – What if users need extra help?

  • Solution – Use pop-up windows because we want to keep people in the funnel

Intro to web design

Process Tunnel

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Process Tunnel

Intro to web design

Solution DiagramProcess Funnel (H1)

Related patterns process funnel h1

Related PatternsProcess Funnel (H1)

(A1) E-Commerce

(A10) Web Apps

(A11) Intranets

(H1) Process Funnel

(K2) Navigation Bars

(H8) Context-Sensitive Help

(K3) Tab Rows

(I2) Above the Fold

(K4) Action Buttons

(K5) High-Viz Action Buttons

(K12) Preventing Errors

(K13) Meaningful Error Messages

Meaningful error messages k13

Problem – When customers make mistakes, they need to be informed of the problem and how to recover


Clear statement of problem

Explain how to recover

Position near the problem

Meaningful Error Messages (K13)

Intro to web design

  • Clear error message

    • Two messages at top

  • Explain how to recover

    • Says it is missing required information

  • Position near the problem

    • Error messages far

    • Required info marked in green, hard to see

Intro to web design

  • Clear error message

  • Explains how to recover

  • Positioned near the problem

Solution diagram meaningful error messages k13

Solution DiagramMeaningful Error Messages (K13)

Related patterns meaningful error messages k13

Related PatternsMeaningful Error Messages (K13)

(H1) Process Funnel

(H2) Sign-in / New Account

(F1) Quick-Flow Checkout

(K12) Preventing Errors

(K11) Familiar Language

(K13) Meaningful Error Messages

What am i searching for

“What am I Searching For?”

What am i searching for1

“What am I Searching For?”

Intro to web design


Intro to web design


Intro to web design


Intro to web design


Pattern examples navigation bar

Pattern ExamplesNavigation Bar

Web design patterns1

Web Design Patterns

(B1) Multiple Ways to Navigate



(B2) Browsable Content

Search / Wizard /

Relate / Promote

(K3) Tab Rows

(K2) Navigation Bar


(K10) Obvious Links

(L2) Fast-Downloading Images


Web design patterns2

Web Design Patterns

(A1) Personal E-Commerce

(H1) Process Funnel

(F1) Quick-Flow Checkout

(F3) Shopping Cart

(I1) Grid Layout

(I2) Above the Fold

(K4) Action Buttons

(L2) Fast-Downloading Images



  • Lots of issues involved in designing web sites

  • Design patterns one way of capturing good design knowledge

Further reading books on web design

Further ReadingBooks on Web Design

  • Web Design in a Nutshell. Jennifer Niederst. O'Reilly , 1999.

  • Design of Sites. Doug Van Duyne, James Landay, Jason Hong. Addison-Wesley. 2002.

  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville. O'Reilly, 1998.

  • Don’t Make Me Think! Steven Krug. Que, 2000.

Further reading books on web design1

Further ReadingBooks on Web Design

  • Community Building on the Web. Amy Jo Kim. Peachpit Press, 2000.

  • Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques. Kevin Mullet and Darrell Sano. Prentice Hall / SunSoft Press. 1994.

  • Understanding Comics. Scott McCloud. Kitchen Sink Press, 1994.

  • Designing Web Usability. Jakob Nielsen. New Riders Publishing, 1999.

Further reading websites on web design

Further ReadingWebsites on Web Design

  •, links to other usability sites

  •, for building accessible websites

  • Web pages that suck, at

  • Net tips for designers, at

  • User Interface Engineering, at

  • ZDNet Ecommerce Best Practices, at

Further reading websites on web design1

Further ReadingWebsites on Web Design

  • New York Times Ecommerce Times, at


  • usability log

  • CNet, info on building sites

  • ACM’s CHI-Web Mailing List


  • web log

  • Jakob Nielsen

  • Login