Common Placement of Web Objects
Christina’s comments on the netflix redesign reminded me that I meant to collect my resources that discuss common placement of web interface objects. As I was pulling together those URL’s I noticed that Heidi Adkisson has started a web site dedicated to her research on the subject. Nice!
- Examining User Expectations of the Location of Web Objects Michael L. Bernard (December 2000)
- Developing Schemas for the Location of Common Web Objects Michael Bernard (March 2001)
- Examining User Expectations for the Location of Common E-Commerce Web Objects Michael Bernard (April 2002)
- Identifying De-facto standards for E-Commerce Web Sites Heidi Adkisson (master’s thesis 2002)
- Heidi Adkisson’s poster from 2003 IA summit (pdf) (March 2003)
- Web Page Layout: A Comparison Between Left- and Right-justified Site Navigation Menus James Kalbach and Tim Bosenick (April 2003)
- When Bad Design Elements Become the Standard Jakob Nielsen (November 1999)
- Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines Jared M. Spool (September 2002)
“Therefore, while users have a consistent expectation where designers will place the basic design elements, there’s no evidence to suggest that designers should place these elements there.”
Basically I think you should know where most designers put a given element, examine why they usually put it there (might be due to outdated browser capabilities), then put it where you think it would most benefit your users given a valid justification (which could be that they expect it to be in that spot). Tangentially related, on the whole, always know what the rules are then decide when best to break them — but do know the rules first. I suppose that might have wider application than just interface design.