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6:3 Place Important Items at Top Center

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 5 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 4 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Page Structure - General


Guideline:

Put the most important items at the top center of the Web page to facilitate users' finding the information


Comments:

Users generally look at the top center of a page first, scanning from left to right, and then begin systematically moving down the page. All critical content and navigation options should be toward the top of the page. Particularly on navigation pages, most major choices should be visible with no, or a minimum of, scrolling.


Sources:

  • Byrne, M.D., John, B.E., Wehrle, N.S., & Crow, D.C. (1999). The tangled web we wove: A taskonomy of WWW use. Proceedings of CHI’99, 544-551.
  • Detweiler, M.C. & Omanson, R.C. (1996). Ameritech Web Page User Interface Standards and Design Guidelines. Ameritech (now SBC).
  • Faraday, P. (2000). Visually critiquing web pages. Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Human Factors and the Web. Retrieved November 2005, from http://www.tri.sbc.com/hfweb/faraday/FARADAY.HTM.
  • Faraday, P. (2001). Attending to web pages. Proceedings of CHI 2001, 159-160.
  • Lewenstein, M., Edwards, G., Tatar, D., & Devigal, A. (2000). Where do users look first? Stanford Poynter Institute. Research excerpted in http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/report/news/may10/eyetrack-55.html.
  • Mahajan, R. & Shneiderman, B. (1997). Visual and textual consistency checking tools for graphical user interfaces. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 23, 722-735.
  • Nielsen, J. (1996a, May). Top ten mistakes in Web design. Retrieved November 2005, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9605.html.
  • Nielsen, J. (1999b, May). ‘Top ten mistakes’ revisited three years later. Retrieved November 2005, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990502.html.
  • Nielsen, J. (1999c, May). The top ten new mistakes of Web design. Retrieved November 2005, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990530.html.
  • Spyridakis, J.H. (2000). Guidelines for authoring comprehensible web pages and evaluating their success. Technical Communication, 47(3), 359-382.

Good Example:

Eye-tracking studies indicate this is the area of the screen where most users first look when a Web site page loads.

06_03_good_example1

06_03_good_example2

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