The Need for Web Design Standards

The Need for Web Design Standards

  
According to Jakob Nielsen: Users expect 77% of the simpler Web design elements to behave in a certain way.

Unfortunately, much of the Web is like an anthill built by ants on LSD: many sites don't fit into the big picture, and are too difficult to use because they deviate from expected norms.

Several design elements are common enough that users expect them to work in a certain way.

Standard design elements which are expected:
* A logo in the upper left corner of the page
* A search box on the homepage
* An absence of splash pages
* Breadcrumbs listed horizontally (when they were used)

Conventional design elements included:
* Using the label "site map" for the site map
* Changing the color of visited links (recommended to help navigation)
* Placing the shopping cart link in the upper right corner of page
* Placing links to sibling areas (neighboring topics at the same information architecture level as the current location) in the left-hand column

Full article: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040913.html