!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Research-Based Web Usability Guidelines

Friday, April 13, 2007

Research-Based Web Usability Guidelines

The US Department of Health and Human Services has posted online a comprehensive compilation of research-based design and usability guidelines.

For example, one of the guidelines in the chapter on optimizing the user experience is:
Optimize the credibility of information-oriented Web sites.
You are given specifics of how to meet this guideline:
  • Provide a useful set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers

  • Ensure the Web site is arranged in a logical way

  • Provide articles containing citations and references

  • Show the author’s credentials

  • Ensure the site looks professionally designed

  • Provide an archive of past content (where appropriate)

  • Ensure the site is as up-to-date as possible

  • Provide links to outside sources and materials

  • Ensure the site is frequently linked to by other credible sites
The sources for the guideline are cited, and the strength of the evidence the sources provide is rated — in this case, 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 (high). There is also a rating for the relative importance of the guideline — in this case, 4 on a scale of 1 to 5.

Other chapters cover:
  • Design process and evaluation

  • Accessibility

  • Hardware and software

  • The homepage

  • Page layout

  • Navigation

  • Scrolling and paging

  • Headings, titles, and labels

  • Links

  • Text appearance

  • Lists

  • Screen-based controls (widgets)

  • Graphics, images, and multimedia

  • Writing Web content

  • Content organization

  • Search

  • Usability testing
You can download any or all of the material as pdf files (many quite large).


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