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Overview. Frank Cervone. Overview. Web site design and redesigns Usability testing techniques Designing for “ scent ”. Overview. Writing for the Web Techniques, strategies, and examples. Overview. Interactive, content-driven Web sites Efficient site management On-target search results.

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Frank Cervone

  • Web site design and redesigns
    • Usability testing techniques
    • Designing for “scent”
  • Writing for the Web
    • Techniques, strategies, and examples
  • Interactive, content-driven Web sites
    • Efficient site management
    • On-target search results
web site design
Web site design
  • What is good design?
    • Schools of thought
      • Tufte - buffet
      • Nielsen – treasure hunt
web site usability
Web site Usability
  • How do we know what is usable?
    • Usability engineering as an emerging discipline
    • What does research tell us?
essentials for quality web design
Essentials for Quality Web Design
  • Know who your users are
  • Know why they are coming

to the site

  • Design for Scent of Information
what is the scent of information
What is the Scent of Information?
  • The clues users follow as they navigate a site
  • Based on Xerox’s Information Foraging theories
  • Tell us why users make the choices they make as they are seeking their target content
what we know about scent
What We Know About Scent
  • Users can scan the page for Trigger Words
  • If they don’t find the trigger words, they look for Search
  • If Search isn’t a good option, they hit the Back Button
tips for creating sites with scent
Tips for Creating Sites with Scent
  • Start with the most important content - make that easiest to find
  • Find out what your user’s trigger words are
  • Look for uses of the back button and search to tell you things are going awry
  • Longer, more descriptive links work better than short links
how do you know if your site has good scent
How do you know if your site has good scent?
  • Common technique:

Usability Testing

- Find out how users work with your site

    • Options: simple to complex
writing for the web
Writing for the Web
  • What do libraries do?
    • organize as much content as possible
  • What is the focus of Web publications
    • Select the best content
    • Edit it well
    • Make compelling reading
writing for the web53
Writing for the Web
  • “It is words that drive actions
  • on a Web page”
  • Gerry McGovern –
  • author of “Content Critical”
writing for the wired world

Writing for the Wired World

Darlene Fichter Data CoordinatorUniversity of Saskatchewan

library web development
Library Web development
  • Focus on technology, design

and navigation

  • Site-wide perspective
  • Often, key Web developers

do not have Web writing experience

the result
The Result

Writing is ignored

the reality
The reality
  • Technology and navigation are important
  • Design is important
typical library audience

Librarians enjoy hunting

for information.

Users like finding it.

Typical library audience
  • Diverse: age, occupation, etc.
  • Focused on getting the job done
research shows people don t read
Research shows people don’t read
  • People who are looking for information don't read
  • What do they do?
  • They scan
  • Is at least 25% slower on the screen compared to a paper-based format
reading slower implications for style
Reading slower: Implications for style
  • Be succinct
    • Use ½ the word count of conventional writing
  • Write in pyramid style like a newspaper article
more is better syndrome
“More is better” syndrome
  • Need to ask what is important?
  • Then give prominence to high demand items
four ways to improve your writing
Four ways to improve your writing
  • Strike out useless words
  • Use simple sentences
  • Avoid jargon
  • Be direct

Readers understand

more when reading less.

  • Make your page easy to scan
  • Use lists, lists, and more lists
  • Create page titles, headings, and subheadings
  • Be consistent in how you design the headings
use lists
Use lists
  • Lists speed up scanning
  • Use bulleted items when sequence doesn’t matter
    • Use numbered items when it does
  • Lists are for key concepts, not full sentences
which is fastest to read research says
Which is fastest to read? Research says…








  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Physics
  • Zoology

Anatomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Zoology

power of hyperlinks
Power of hyperlinks
  • Make the links meaningful
  • Set link colors
  • Don’ t use “standard” colors in odd ways
    • this is not a link, but it sure

looks like one

what is the weakest link

Staff Directory

    • 1. Search by last name
    • 2. Browse by location
    • 3. List all staff, click here
What is the weakest link?
promoting better writing
Promoting better writing
  • Share a couple of strategies
set standards
Set standards
  • Editorial standards
    • Capitalization, punctuation
    • Naming conventions
    • Readability scores
    • Page length
  • Formatting
    • Headings and subheadings
    • Lists
recruit authors as observers for your next usability test
Recruit authors as observers for your next usability test
  • Nothing works better
  • Seeing is believing
writing guides and resources
Writing guides and resources
  • Before and after examples
secrets to good wired writing
Secrets to good wired writing
  • Be informed − read the research
  • Watch users and learn what works
  • Practice writing and editing for the Web
content driven web sites
Content-driven Web sites
  • Moving from static to dynamic pages
    • Allows for customization based on user
    • Provides a means for organizing large amounts of content
    • Volume of resources makes hand-coding impractical
content driven web sites80
Content-driven Web sites
  • What it means
    • Page content generated on demand
    • “Web page” is a template
    • Content is stored in a database
    • A template processing engine combines the template and content to create a Web page
dynamic content delivery

Dynamic Content Delivery

Laura Pope Robbins

December 6, 2002

Effective Web Design: A Fresh Look

why use a database
Why use a database?
  • Library perspective
    • Increase access
    • Simplify maintenance
    • Save time
    • Eliminate errors
    • Focus on content not format
  • Patron perspective
    • Dynamic and interactive
    • Fast and easy to use
static content delivery
Static content delivery
  • Hard-coded HTML pages
    • Team effort
    • Webmaster as editor-in-chief
  • Long lists
    • Subscription databases
    • Journal titles
    • Selected Web sites
static content delivery84
Static content delivery
  • One link can span several pages
    • Unwieldy
    • Facilitates errors
    • Time consuming
dynamic content delivery85
Dynamic content delivery
  • Centralized resource
    • Specific piece of information

exists only once

    • Update only one resource
dynamic content delivery96
Dynamic content delivery
  • Editing controlled via Web forms
    • Consistent content
    • Separate style and content
dynamic content delivery97
Dynamic content delivery
  • Variety of access
    • Multiple access points for one resource
    • Customized content
  • Dynamic content
how were these sites created
How were these sites created?
  • Webserver
    • Microsoft IIS
  • Database
    • MS Access
      • Provides the raw data

for the Web pages

  • Middleware
    • Active Server Pages (ASP)
      • Provides the interface