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Empirically Based

Web Design

Don Zimmerman, PhD.

Professor

Department of Journalism & Technical

Communication

Center for Research on Writing

& Communication Technologies

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, Colorado

Overview

Why do we need research-based

guidelines?

National Cancer Institute’s Usability

focus/ Communication Technologies

Branch

CSU Journalism & Technical

Communication Research

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 33

Why Research Based

Guidelines?

Enhances the effectiveness of Web

sites

Tells what works and what doesn’t

work

Adds to your credibility

Why Research-based

Guidelines?

Answers the “Why” behind design

questions

Provides evidence to support your

recommendation, guideline

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 55

National Cancer Institute--1

www.usability.gov

Being revised, post spring 2003

190+ guidelines

(4)

1/17/03

1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

(5)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 99

National Cancer Institute--2

Research-based guidelines for Web

NIH medical guidelines

Research paradigm

Best practices based on research

National Cancer Institute--3

Process

Communication Technologies Branch

selected initial guidelines

Identified preliminary sources

Team reviewed

Met in DC to develop & pretest rating

system

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 1111

National Cancer Institute--4

NCI Staff & Contractors

Janice Nall, Chief Communication Technologies

Branch

Sanjay Koyni, Usability Engineer

Crag Lafond, Project Manager

Susan Allison

Shruthi Nawab

Conrad Mulligan, McNeil Technologies

Kent Bailey, Mind Design, Inc.

National Cancer Institue--5

Bob Bailey, President

Computer Psychology

Barbara Chaparro,

Software Usability Res.

Wichita State U.

Melody Ivory, Inform.

School, U of Wash.

Bonnie John, HCI MS

program, Carnegie

Mellon U.

Judy Ramey, Tech

Comm, U. of Wash,

University

Ginny Reddish, Redish

& Associates.

Jean Schultz NIST

Tom Tullis, Human

Interface Design

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 1313

National Cancer Institute--6

Classify each guideline

Hypothesis testing

Non-hypothesis-oriented experiment

Ethnography

Meta-analysis

Exploratory

Usability report or test

Model-based evaluation

Expert opinion

National Cancer Institute--7

Rate sources on 1-5 guideline of quality

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 1515

CSU Research--1

MS Tech Comm launched 1988

Given graduates have solid, writing,

editing & production skills

Value added

Skills in identifying & analyzing audiences

What does research say about what works

and what doesn’t work

CSU Research--2

Communication Science based :

Testable research questions

Empirical social sciences

Communication science

Psychology

Sociology

Education

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Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 1717

CSU Research--3

Faculty generated $6+ million research

Center for Research on Writing &

Communication Technologies

Hewlett Packard

IBM

Environmental Protection Agency

National Cancer Institute

USDA Forest Service

CSU Research--4

Center for Research on Writing &

Communication Technologies

National Institutes of Health

Colorado Commission on Higher

Education

Colorado State University

National Park Service

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 1919

CSU Research--5

Research studies & evaluations

Usability/Design: 1000+ participants

First Web Study

1993-1994

Linda Bilsing: new “thing” Web & HTML

Surveys & adoption studies 3000+

participants

CSU Research--6

Animation

Distracters

Frames

Legibility

Navigational

patterns

Navigational aids

Link characteristics

Scent

Tutorials

Visuals

(11)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 2121

CSU Research--7

Computer & Web

anxiety, Learning

styles, Situated

cognition

Visual cognition,

visual memory

Cognitive science

Map reading

Technology

Transfer

Diffusion of

innovations--Web

forms usage,

professional Web

site usage

Web usage studies

CSU Research--8

Problem-solving approach

Wide range of methods:

Verbal protocol analysis

Card sorting

Tracking software

Surveys

Nominal Group Techniques

Focus groups

(12)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 2323

Framework for Guidelines

Emerging Guidelines--1

Follow accessibility standards

Section 508, Feds

www.W3.org

Analyze audience

Content knowledge

(13)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 2525

Emerging Guidelines--2

(14)

1/17/03

1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 2727

Emerging Guidelines--3

Design for connection speeds

At work 66% users have fast connections

At home

14% high-speed (broadband)

Balance modems

56K Modem

(15)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 2929

Emerging Guidelines--4

Fast download speed

40k to 70k

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 3131

Emerging Guidelines--5

Use standard links (?)

Blue underlined (?)

File folder Tabs

Buttons

(17)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 3333

Emerging Guidelines--6

Use high scent links (telling)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

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Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 3737

Emerging Guidelines--7

Provide multiple navigation aids

Left-hand navigational panel

Tabs

Home

Tab folders

(20)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 3939

Emerging Guidelines--8

Provide additional navigation aids

Index

Site map

Search engine

Table of contents

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 4343

Emerging Guidelines--9

Put key information high in Web site

hierarchy

Put key information center and high on

page (screen)

Structure site broad & shallow

Vegetables &

Fruits

Celebrating

Vegetables

& Fruits

Seasonal

Vegetables

& Fruits

Fun Facts

& Ideas

Science:

Truths &

Myths

How to

Buy, Store,

& Prepare

Nutrition

Information

Buying

Storing

Preparing

(23)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 4545

Emerging Guidelines--10

55-60 character line: understanding

Use Verdana, Arial, Helvetica or other

sans-serif font

Provide good contrast

Black text on white background

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 4747

Emerging Guidelines--11

Use point size appropriate users

Use text aids for informational Web

sites

Bullet lists

Short, succinct paragraphs

Short sentences

Use vertical lists, when possible

Emerging Guidelines--12

Readability

Audience?

10

th

grade level?

Run tests (MS Word function)

Write tightly

(25)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 4949

Emerging Guidelines—13

Use illustrations carefully

Functional?

Attract attention

Use animations with care

Attract attention?

Functional

Distract users?

Emerging Guidelines—14

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 5353

Emerging Guidelines—15

(28)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 5555

Emerging Guidelines—16

(29)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 5757

Emerging Guidelines--17

(30)

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1/17/03

Empirically Based Web Design

Empirically Based Web Design

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

copyright 2003 Don Zimmerman CU

Denver

Denver 5959

Don Zimmerman

Center for Research on Writing &

Communication Technologies

Dept of Journalism & Technical

Communication

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1785

Don.Zimmerman@colostate.edu

References

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