September 23, 2011 in Web Usability

Web Writing Rules

Users scan, they don’t read.

When writing for the web there’s a handful of rules:


  • Plain english
  • Chunkated content
  • Meaningful headings (not clever ones)
  • Highlight keywords (bold)
  • Use bulletted lists
  • F shaped scanning pattern
  • If theres a more common term, use it
  • Use a active voice ( active voice (“Actor does X to Object”) is usually better than passive voice (“Object has X done to it by Actor”) .
  • Show numbers as numerals
  • Positive statements
  • Less is more
  • Keep introductory text short (content context only)
  • Be succinct
  • Users scan, they don’t read


  • One idea per paragraph
  • Inverted pyramid style (start with conclusion)
  • Half the word count (than traditional writing)


  • Scanning the headings should explain what the page is about

July 7, 2009 in Web Usability

I Hate Captchas

captchaI truly hate captcha’s, they are so annoying and wildy over used, we spend so much time working on the web usability of a design and ensuring accessibility to the widest audience and then we add a captcha that wrecks the flow of the web page and adds a big ole  extra step in the way of the user completing a task.

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May 26, 2009 in Web Usability

Ask The Audience: Three Column Layout

three-column-layoutI have a question for my good audience; Is it ok for 3 column layouts to allow the 3rd (right most) column to be chopped off ? Does it matter that the 3rd column may not be viewable by everyone as long as you just have extras on the 3rd column and not website crucial elements such as navigation, is it wrong to just accept that some users resolutions will just chop the 3rd column off?

April 17, 2009 in Web Usability

Web Page Design Width?

Apple Screen

I often get asked what page width should I design to and my common answer is “it depends”. The goal is to design a page that looks good across most screen resolutions and most configurations allowing accessibility to the widest possible audience, but there’s alot to consider.
Post updated : please read Web Page Design Width 2013

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Joomla vs WordPress

wordpress-vs-joomlaCheck out a great article on Joomla vs WordPress Usability from Playing With Wire. I agree with what they have to say, WordPress user experience is second to none and Joomla is playing catch up in this department, but in other areas Joomla shines brightly. Here’s a quick comparison:
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February 27, 2009 in Web Usability

Design With Web Conventions

web-design-conventionsWeb conventions can be used to improve the user experience of your web pages. The learned behavior of users surfing many websites web-wide has created some web design conventions that we can take advantage of in our page designs, easing the viewers journey with a sense of familiarity.

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