designers naturally have a distorted view of web pages.
The way we look at pages as we design them is very different from how
they're used in the real world.
To create designs that work in the real world, we must appreciate the
way they'll really be used.
How designers look at web
- We appreciate balance, depth,
richness, and surprises
- We enjoy looking at designs
- We stare long and hard at
the complete screen
How real people use web pages
These are fundamental and
The way that we, as designers,
even approach web pages is almost alien, compared to what goes on in
the real world. That's probably the main reason why so many web sites
are badly designed.
Whenever you or I look at a
design (or anything), our perception changes. Most importantly, we
really look, as though we're looking at
a work of art.
We start to notice subtle
differences that we wouldn't have seen at first. We start to appreciate
the play between different colours, textures and layers. If we look
long enough, we'll stop seeing. As the cliché goes, we
"Can't see the wood for the trees".
In order to create effective
web designs, we have to be sympathetic to web users. That involves
getting smart in three key areas:
- the environment of real-world
- the habits users adopt in
order to cope
- the things we can do to help
users browse successfully, smoothly, and cheerfully
These three things pretty well
sum up 'Unique Quality Website'. The rest of the Basics section deals
with the first two areas: the web browsing environment, and the habits
of web users.
How to design for the web
We must design for the way
people actually use the web (not how we think they should)
Once we fully acknowledge the
way people really browse the web, we can get smart and positively
design our sites to help real-life users, and avoid all the common
mistakes that make life difficult for them.