Web Site Usability Basics:
- logo should always link to home page (except on the home page)
- should always have a "you are here" marker
- "you are here" marker should match section name in menu
- one color for links, one color for non-link body text and "you are here" locator text.
- don't have a "visited link" color in menu
- if you have a rollover in a menu, it should change to the "you are here color"
- "you are here" links in menu should permanently change to "you are here" color when in that section
- links should never move in menu.
- links should never disappear in menu.
- submenu should show some logical hierarchichal relationship to main menu.
- menu sections should be meaningful to user, not just to company or site designer.
- color schemes and menu locations should remain consistent throughout site.
- proximity implies meaningful relationship.
- size of type implies hierarchichal importance.
- hierarchy of site should be as balanced as possible.
- build with scalability in mind.
- build with maintenance in mind.
- usability is no excuse for ugliness.
- users of your site are never as interested in the nuances of your site as you are. unless there is a good reason, don't make them learn something totally new just to navigate your site.
- unless there's a good reason, I shouldn't have to click on a link to find out what it actually goes to.
- especially for large downloads, give the user enough preview information so that they can be sure they want to invoke the large download.
- people start reading a page in the top left hand corner.
- things above are perceived as hierarchichally more important than things below.
- when it's all said and done, color is largely denotatively subjective. Don't rely on color alone to convey important denotative meaning.
- unless there's a good reason, have as few links as possible between the user and the content they are trying to find.
- sites should have a unified personality or voice. Is your copy saying the same thing as your visual design?
- unless there's a good reason, I should be able to tell what your site is about by glancing at the first page.