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Re: [NTO] Unsophisticated Users Don't Scroll

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  • Axel Berger
    ... I agree. I had to scroll down a bit to get to the Google bit, and it does look a lot like the end of the page and seems superfluous. You should add a more
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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      Adrien Verlee wrote:
      > The visitor gets a first impression that the page ends
      > with "Google".

      I agree. I had to scroll down a bit to get to the Google bit, and it
      does look a lot like the end of the page and seems superfluous. You
      should add a more prominent "search this site with Google" and place
      it top right, where we have come to expect searches.

      Another thing: Your page is way too wide. I usually have my browser
      window at a bit less than 800 points wide and detest the arrogance
      of people demanding my whole screen for themselves - I'm not their
      employee, rather the other way round in most cases. (Although
      admittedly full screen is what totally inexperienced computers
      non-users usually have, but see below.)

      Even more imprtantly it makes the lines much too long. A line in
      print should not have more than about 65 characters, (up to eighty
      for professional readers). For screen even 65 is considered too many
      and most useability studies point to something like 45 characters.
      In my own site I have found a max-width: 32em; (up to 38em, rarely
      42) to work well.

      Axel
    • Jeff Scism
      Considerations: One point is right and left scrolling. I usually set my width = 95% so that scrolling left and right is avoided. It is really bad if the
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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        Considerations:

        One point is right and left scrolling. I usually set my "width = 95%" so
        that scrolling left and right is avoided. It is really bad if the
        website needs to be scrolled left/right/ and down.

        One rule is to set it up in text columns like a newspaper if necessary
        (readers are used to short right and left visual scanning).

        Photos and images should be "beside" text, not above/below it. Or have
        the text start first, and wrap around the images.

        Just as in photography the website should lead the visual experience
        to the parts that are important.

        Paragraphs should be at least two sentences long, but shorter than
        eight. The subject should be covered in the first sentence, and
        summarized in the end of the paragraph, or lead to the next
        paragraph/subject.

        Spelling is IMPORTANT. If a website contains a lot of typos, then
        readers will assume the content has errors as well, and lose interest.
        Sloppy website standards detract from readability.

        Photographs should stick to the "no more than 600 pixels wide" rule. and
        should have a 3:4 or 4:3 ratio. Banner photos should have a 1:4 to a
        1:6 ratio.

        Back ground images should be made subdued, tiled, so that obvious lines
        do not appear between sections, and music if used must be optionally
        able to be turned off.

        Although aesthetics are important, the content of the site should have
        priority - the reason of the site should be to present the message, not
        the background and other bells and whistles.

        Information (communication of...) and in some cases sales, should be
        the focus. Thus ability to search within the page is important, it
        should be near the top, and discrete within the design.

        Jeff
      • sisterscape
        Ditto. Content should always have more prominence than ego. ;) That is if he wants to sell cars! Google at the page fold is also a killer. Additional text
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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          Ditto. Content should always have more prominence than ego. ;) That is if he wants to sell cars!

          Google at the page 'fold' is also a killer.

          Additional text navigation at the top for the categories detailed at the bottom would also help.

          --- On Mon, 12/29/08, David Smart <smartware.consulting@...> wrote:

          > From: David Smart <smartware.consulting@...>
          > Subject: Re: [NTO] Unsophisticated Users Don't Scroll
          > To: ntb-OffTopic@yahoogroups.com
          > Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 4:23 AM
          > Simplify. People don't scroll pages that are not
          > obvious lists (e.g. like
          > Google results).
          >
          > Get the important stuff up the top. No idea why the
          > photograph has more
          > prominence than the information.
          >
          > Regards, Dave S
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: "Ray Shapp" <ras45@...>
          > To: <ntb-OffTopic@yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 5:26 PM
          > Subject: [NTO] Unsophisticated Users Don't Scroll
          >
          >
          > > To All,
          > >
          > > How to simplify navigation for unsophisticated users?
          > >
          > > I do web maintenance for my brother's antique
          > automobile restoration
          > > business.
          > > The site is www.classiccars.ws
          > >
          > > My brother, Dick, reports that a significant number of
          > the people he meets
          > > who
          > > have visited his website miss entire areas of it
          > because they lack
          > > rudimentary
          > > browsing technique and/or have low reading
          > comprehension. I added a huge
          > > arrow
          > > to the Home page pointing downward that says,
          > "More Below", but they are
          > > either ignoring the arrow, or they don't speak
          > English, or they don't know
          > > how
          > > to scroll. I'm reluctant to add an array of
          > thumbnails near the top of the
          > > Home page that would link to various areas such as
          > "Sales", "Parts",
          > > "Project
          > > Cars", "Videos", etc., but I know that
          > some non-verbal nav aids may be
          > > necessary. I am even considering an animated slide
          > show that could be
          > > click-able, but I'm not sure animation is possible
          > if the user's browser
          > > lacks
          > > JAVA or Flash player.
          > >
          > > Any ideas to aid the user?
          > >
          > > Thanks for the help.
          > >
          > > Ray Shapp
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ------------------------------------
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Axel Berger
          ... Are there any on Ray s site? If so I wholeheartedly agree, but both are turned of in my browsers anyway, so I wouldn t notice. Which leads to another rule:
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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            Jeff Scism wrote:
            > Back ground images should be made subdued, tiled, so that obvious
            > lines do not appear between sections, and music if used must be
            > optionally able to be turned off.

            Are there any on Ray's site? If so I wholeheartedly agree, but both are
            turned of in my browsers anyway, so I wouldn't notice. Which leads to
            another rule: Never hide important content in background images, neither
            I nor anyone disabled will ever see it.

            Axel
          • Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV
            ... I often have friends and family ask me about how I design my site(s). I tell them I don t - anymore. I use the same basic layouts for all my pages and hope
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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              Jeff Scism wrote:
              > Although aesthetics are important, the content of the site should have
              > priority - the reason of the site should be to present the message, not
              > the background and other bells and whistles.
              >
              > Information (communication of...) and in some cases sales, should be
              > the focus. Thus ability to search within the page is important, it
              > should be near the top, and discrete within the design.

              I often have friends and family ask me about how I design my site(s).
              I tell them I don't - anymore. I use the same basic layouts for all my
              pages and hope the content distinguishes the page.
              See:
              http://epicroadtrips.us/2007/summer/california/index.php
              http://epicroadtrips.us/2006/spring/index.html
              http://epicroadtrips.us/2006/spring/Southern_New_Jersey/Belleplane_State_Forest/index.html

              As has been said elsewhere many times, usability and content are what
              make or break any page.

              And, I will be the first to admit I have relied heavily on lists such as
              NoteTab, CSSDiscuss and Webdesign-l for technical help and
              design/usability ideas. Without the help of the folks my pages would
              still be a mess. (Some still are:
              http://mbreiding.us/ert/Tennessee/nashville/Nville_Fri_21st_Jan/ )
              It is great to have so many people to bounce ideas off of!

              sisterscape wrote:
              > Additional text navigation at the top for the categories detailed at the
              > bottom would also help.

              Because of the long scrolls on some of my pages I recently added bottom
              navigation. Also, the use of "Back to TOP" links can help users
              backtrack more easily.

              -Mike
            • sisterscape
              ... Links at the bottom will be useless unless they know how to scroll to get there! All important navigation needs to be above the page fold.
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV <mike@...> wrote:
                >
                > Because of the long scrolls on some of my pages I recently
                > added bottom
                > navigation. Also, the use of "Back to TOP" links
                > can help users
                > backtrack more easily.
                >
                > -Mike
                >

                Links at the bottom will be useless unless they know how to scroll to get there! All important navigation needs to be above the page fold.
              • Axel Berger
                ... When using a two or three column design you can make the navigation list fixed. I do this on http://fdp-odenthal.de. It needs to be placed in a script (so
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                  Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV wrote:
                  > Because of the long scrolls on some of my pages I recently
                  > added bottom navigation. Also, the use of "Back to TOP" links
                  > can help users backtrack more easily.

                  When using a two or three column design you can make the navigation
                  list fixed. I do this on http://fdp-odenthal.de It needs to be
                  placed in a script (so not avaliable to people with scripts off) and
                  you have to check to things first:
                  a) The window needs to be wide enough to avoid horizontal scrolling
                  as you can't scroll a fixed element to the left.
                  b) The window needs to be high enough to take all of the menu as you
                  can't scroll to get at elements below the bottom.
                  Those two requirements fulfilled you can redefine the CSS.

                  To see this in practice take a look at http://fdp-odenthal.de (The
                  technical explanation beneath Home>Impressum is in English.)

                  Axel
                • Axel Berger
                  ... Quite so. On the other hand if there is a lot of content worth reading and you scroll down and down while doing so (not so much text at the recommended
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                    sisterscape wrote:
                    > Links at the bottom will be useless unless they know how
                    > to scroll to get there!

                    Quite so. On the other hand if there is a lot of content worth
                    reading and you scroll down and down while doing so (not so much
                    text at the recommended line length of 45 characters), then, when
                    you have reached the bottom it is quite nice not to have to go back
                    up all the way to be able to move on.
                    (And it seems I forgot all those "back to top" links on my FDP
                    pages, time for going over all of them.)

                    Axel
                  • Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV
                    ... Cool. I like! I downloaded the test page and will have to see if I can apply this to the menus at www.EpicRoadTrips.us. Thanks, -Mike
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                      Axel Berger wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV wrote:
                      > > Because of the long scrolls on some of my pages I recently
                      > > added bottom navigation. Also, the use of "Back to TOP" links
                      > > can help users backtrack more easily.
                      >
                      > When using a two or three column design you can make the navigation
                      > list fixed. I do this on http://fdp-odenthal .de.
                      > <http://fdp-odenthal.de >


                      Cool. I like!
                      I downloaded the test page and will have to see if I can apply this to
                      the menus at www.EpicRoadTrips.us.
                      Thanks,
                      -Mike


                      > To see this in practice take a look at http://fdp-odenthal .de
                      > <http://fdp-odenthal.de> (The
                      > technical explanation beneath Home>Impressum is in English.)
                      >
                      > Axel
                    • Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV
                      Axel Berger wrote: ... Now that size has been mentioned I am going to ask the age old question: What is the best screen res to design for? I am finding
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                        Axel Berger wrote:

                        <TRIM>

                        > a) The window needs to be wide enough to avoid horizontal scrolling
                        > as you can't scroll a fixed element to the left.

                        Now that size has been mentioned I am going to ask the age old question:
                        What is the best screen res to design for?

                        I am finding the 800x600 rather confining for my photo pages and I am
                        about ready to go wider.

                        -Mike
                      • sisterscape
                        Flexible sites are the best. They should fit 800x600 at a minimum but also be able to expand as needed.
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                          Flexible sites are the best. They should fit 800x600 at a minimum but also be able to expand as needed.


                          --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV <mike@...> wrote:

                          > From: Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV <mike@...>
                          > Subject: [NTO] What is the best screen res to design for?
                          > To: ntb-OffTopic@yahoogroups.com
                          > Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 3:59 PM
                          > Axel Berger wrote:
                          >
                          > <TRIM>
                          >
                          > > a) The window needs to be wide enough to avoid
                          > horizontal scrolling
                          > > as you can't scroll a fixed element to the left.
                          >
                          > Now that size has been mentioned I am going to ask the age
                          > old question:
                          > What is the best screen res to design for?
                          >
                          > -Mike
                          >
                          >
                          > ------------------------------------
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • sisterscape
                          ... Ditto for flash content which IMO should only be used for decoration. More people have flash disabled than you might imagine. Me for one!
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                            --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Never hide important content in background
                            > images, neither
                            > I nor anyone disabled will ever see it.
                            >
                            > Axel
                            >

                            Ditto for flash content which IMO should only be used for decoration. More people have flash disabled than you might imagine. Me for one!
                          • Julie
                            ... Me for two. Give me a nice simple webpage with no extra bells and whistles and you ve got my attention. Julie
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                              On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 5:34 PM, sisterscape <sisterscape@...> wrote:
                              > --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:
                              >>
                              >> Never hide important content in background
                              >> images, neither
                              >> I nor anyone disabled will ever see it.
                              >>
                              >> Axel
                              >>
                              >
                              > Ditto for flash content which IMO should only be used for decoration. More people have flash disabled than you might imagine. Me for one!

                              Me for two.


                              Give me a nice simple webpage with no extra bells and whistles and
                              you've got my attention.


                              Julie
                            • Axel Berger
                              ... Please beware that I have not updated that for some time. Especially the scripts have had recent changes, mainly to detect zooming and not just the default
                              Message 14 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                                Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV wrote:
                                > I downloaded the test page

                                Please beware that I have not updated that for some time. Especially
                                the scripts have had recent changes, mainly to detect zooming and
                                not just the default font size when determining the minimum window
                                size for the fixed menu.

                                Axel
                              • Axel Berger
                                ... As I said I don t use fullscreen mode and my window usually is slightly less than 800 pixels wide. For photographs I prefer to make them between 320 and at
                                Message 15 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                                  Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV wrote:
                                  > I am finding the 800x600 rather confining for my photo pages

                                  As I said I don't use fullscreen mode and my window usually is
                                  slightly less than 800 pixels wide. For photographs I prefer to make
                                  them between 320 and at the most 640 pixels wide and place a bigger
                                  one behind them. For viewing a page with many images less than 400
                                  in width is usually sufficient and will load much faster.
                                  Also remember that all browsers make a bad job of rescaling (like
                                  Mozilla showing a picture too big for the window) and scrolling
                                  doesn't let you really appreciate it.

                                  At least make your non-graphic content reformat to suit the reader's
                                  choice of size.

                                  Axel
                                • Ray Shapp
                                  Hi David, Adrien, Don, Axel, Jeff, sisterscape, and Mike Thank you all for your replies. Yes, I will move the Google search tool to top right as suggested, and
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                                    Hi David, Adrien, Don, Axel, Jeff, sisterscape, and Mike

                                    Thank you all for your replies.

                                    Yes, I will move the Google search tool to top right as suggested, and I'll
                                    remove the horizontal line. On my high resolution monitor, I can see lots more
                                    of the display below the Google tool, but other users probably don't see it.

                                    The photo of Jay Leno is quite prominent not only because he has roots in
                                    Massachusetts near my brother's restoration business, but Leno and my brother,
                                    Dick, both acquired antique Duesenbergs at about the same time. My brother's
                                    Deusenberg is one of his featured restorations. Leno is in a court dispute
                                    over ownership of his "Duesey". Dick and Leno still communicate with each
                                    other about the hobby occasionally. Moving the picture to the left and
                                    replacing the big arrow with thumbnail links to interior content is a good
                                    idea.

                                    I have tried to avoid all left/right scrolling throughout -- even if it
                                    makes vertical scrolling necessary. But I also assume the browser will be
                                    operating at full screen width. I'm now pondering Axel's point about my
                                    assumption being arrogant. I must admit to being insensitive to screen width.
                                    I just checked the email client I'm using to write this message, and I find
                                    that it is set for 165-character width. Also, NoteTab runs on my PC all the
                                    time, and it is always expanded to full screen. I usually run my browsers at
                                    full screen too. In the case of my brother's site, most of the content is
                                    photos of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. My guess is that the majority of
                                    users would want the largest possible rendering of each photo. I also maintain
                                    a website for an astronomy club. Many of the members use older inexpensive PCs
                                    and monitors, therefore, I assume their browsers are set to 800x600. One
                                    complaint I hear occasionally is that the content renders too narrowly (on
                                    higher resolution screens). I'm pretty sure these two websites are visited by
                                    very different kinds of audiences.

                                    As Mike mentioned, 800x600 is very confining. My recent usage logs show
                                    1024x768 or higher resolutions are used by the majority. I'm still reluctant,
                                    however, to ignore the 15 percent of users still at 800x600. I think that
                                    unnecessary blank space is less of a burden than the requirement for
                                    horizontal scrolling.

                                    sisterscape said, "Additional text navigation at the top for the categories
                                    detailed at the bottom would also help". The material below the Google tool is
                                    a collection of stories that would be hard to categorize. Also, I'm worried
                                    about space on the top menu bar. Dick has just requested that I add a new link
                                    on the menu for "Motorcycles". Maybe one more for "Features" or "Stories" or
                                    "Articles" would meet the need you cite.

                                    Regarding background images and music: I don't remember ever adding any
                                    background images. The only audio on the site is embedded in the two video
                                    clips.

                                    As Mike indicated, I also benefit greatly from all the great ideas I see on
                                    discussion groups. Many thanks to you all!

                                    Ray Shapp
                                  • Don - HtmlFixIt.com
                                    If you get our htmlfixit counter http://htmlfixit.com counter you ll see who comes to your site by screen resolution. I suspect you may be correct. I still
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Dec 29, 2008
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                                      If you get our htmlfixit counter http://htmlfixit.com counter you'll see
                                      who comes to your site by screen resolution. I suspect you may be
                                      correct. I still think 800 is the right width for optimum design and
                                      you will find many big media sites at 800. I don't think pictures need
                                      to be too big ... maybe a click to enlarge, but often visitors want to
                                      see what is there first and then decide what to see bigger.
                                      > As Mike mentioned, 800x600 is very confining. My recent usage logs show
                                      > 1024x768 or higher resolutions are used by the majority. I'm still reluctant,
                                    • Axel Berger
                                      ... Yes, but that s screen, not window. You are right, very many people use full screen windows most of the time, but especially when searching the net for a
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Dec 30, 2008
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                                        Ray Shapp wrote:
                                        > My recent usage logs show 1024x768 or higher resolutions
                                        > are used by the majority.

                                        Yes, but that's screen, not window. You are right, very many people
                                        use full screen windows most of the time, but especially when
                                        searching the net for a purpose I have an editor window open too to
                                        copy and paste into and use partly overlapping windows.

                                        Axel
                                      • sisterscape
                                        ... At the top does not necessarily mean the menu bar. I was thinking more above the fold , maybe in a sidebar. However, one of the suggested categories
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Dec 30, 2008
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                                          --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Ray Shapp <ras45@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Also, I'm worried
                                          > about space on the top menu bar. Dick has just requested
                                          > that I add a new link
                                          > on the menu for "Motorcycles". Maybe one more for
                                          > "Features" or "Stories" or
                                          > "Articles" would meet the need you cite.
                                          >
                                          >

                                          "At the top" does not necessarily mean the menu bar. I was thinking more "above the fold", maybe in a sidebar. However, one of the suggested categories would work just fine. Navigation is the single most important feature of a site IMO. It should be carefully thought out because if you ever change it, links pointing to you will be broken and it could even affect search engine rankings.
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