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10 Usability Principles to guide you through the Web Design Maze

1. Motivate: Design your site to meet specific user needs and goals. Use motivators to draw different user "personae" into specific parts of your site.

2. User task flow: Who are your users? What are their tasks and online environment? For a site to be usable, page flow must match workflow.

3. Architecture – it's 80% of usability, Build an efficient navigational structure. Remember – if they can't find it in 3 clicks, they're gone.

4. Affordance means obvious: Make controls understandable. Avoid confusion between emblems, banners, and buttons.

5. Replicate: Why reinvent the wheel? Use ergonomically designed templates for the most common 8-12 pages.

6. Usability test along the way: Test early in design using low-fidelity prototypes. Don't wait until the end when it's too late. Know the technology limitations Identify and optimize for target browsers and user hardware.

7. Know the technology limitations: Identify and optimize for target browsers and user hardware.Test HTML, JavaScript, etc for compatibility.

8. Know user tolerances: Users are impatient. Design for a 2-10 second maximum download. Reuse header graphics so they can load from cache. Avoid excessive scrolling.

9. Multimedia – be discriminating: Good animation attracts attention to specific information, then stops. Too much movement distracts, slowing reading and comprehension.

10. Use a stats package: Monitor traffic through your site. Which pages pique user interest? Which pages make users leave? Adjust your site accordingly.

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