Web Development Rules

See: Jakob Neilsen's "Designing Web Usability" New Riders Press

No Rule Comments Page

General Rules - Neilsen

 1 Ask Customers - Build to Suit
  • Build what the customers want, not what you think they should have.
  • Developer must have direct contact with customers.
  • Customer must buy into these rules.
 2 Content should be 50-80% of a page, navigation 20%-50%.
  • Properly formatted content will draw the user's scanning to it.
  • Content itself should capture the users attention.
 3 Use resolution-independent designs. No Fixed Pixels - Use Percentage
  • Users will have different resolutions set on many different hardware platforms.
 4 Use browser independent designs and html coding.
  • Gives customers flexibility.
 5 Make pages load fast.
  • .1 second - User notices no delay.
  • 1 second - User notices delay but maintains thought.
  • 10 seconds - User is annoyed, does something else while waiting.
  •    1 Sec 10 sec
     56K  2kb   34kb
     DSL  8kb  150kb
     T1  100kb  2mb
 6 In hyperlinks, add trailing "/" to URL link not View
  • Avoids redirects
  • Reduces latency
 7 Avoid "Click Here" links. Link something in sentence.
"More..." is good.
  • "Click" and "Here" add nothing to content.
 8 Hyperlinks must have Descriptions and Titles
  • Tell where the link is going and what will be found there.
 9 Use colors on links
  • Unvisited links must be unmistakably "Bluish".
  • Visited links must be unmistakably "Reddish".
 10 People links go to bios rather than email
  • Persons bio, background with links.
  • Email or contact info link.
 11 Don't require any signups or logins, unless necessary.
  • The process impedes navigation.
  • People won't give you info before they see the site.
 12 Use your click thru ads carefully.
  • Clicks must go to relevant pages, not just your home page to keep navigation moving.
 13 No Frames
  • Search engines don't crawl sites with frames.
  • Maintaining links is more difficult.
  • Printing is more difficult.
 14 Establish credibility as a professionally run operation.
  • Let users know that you are reliable and ready to serve their needs.

Content Rules - Neilsen

 15 Content: Be succinct, write for scannability. Split into hyperlinks.
  • Reading Computer screen takes 25% longer than reading from paper.
 16 Use Spell Checker
  • No brainer.
 17 Improve scannability  105
 18 Put Links in Text
  • This encourages good navigation.
 19 Show error messages in plain language.
  • Users are confused by cryptic programming error messages.
 20 Don't use bookmarks in page links
  • Users get confused when content is shifting on the same page.
  • Use chunk method instead.
 21 Chunk long pages
  • Make text short without sacrificing depth by splitting information into multiple nodes connected by hyperlinks.
 22 Make text legible
  • Use colors with high contrast between text and background. Avoid reddish-greenish.
  • Use plain color backgrounds or subtle color ones.
  • Use big enough fonts.
  • Make text stand still.
 23 No busy backgrounds
  • No backgrounds at all.
 24 No Animation
  • No brainer.
 25 Use plain text and standards HTML
  • This will allow site to work in all browsers.

Site Design Rules - Neilsen

 26 Home page must tell what the site does.
  • What is this site about.
  • What does it do.
  • Why should the user want to use it.
 27 Show recent News on Home page.
  • Attract user right away.
 28 No splash pages.
  • Annoys users.
 29 Repeat site name on every interior page in prominent spot.
  • Maintain consistent theme.
  • Supports outside linking to interior pages.
 30 No metaphors. Don't design an Airline site that looks like a check in desk, where clicking the phone brings up the reservations form.
  • User doesn't have to guess about the phone.
 31 BG Color of link area can be a navigation aid.
  • It must be maintained throughout the site for it to work.
 32 Use a search server
  • Microsoft Index Server

Database Design Rules

 33 All table names begin with t and are singular with no abbreviations with first letter of each word capitalized and no spaces or underscores, tCustomerOrder not tblCustOrd or tcustomersorders.
  • Reduces programming time, which is the most expensive part of the project.
 34 All column (field names) are singular with no abbreviations with first letter of each word capitalized and no spaces or underscores, FirstName , not first_name or firstname.
  • Reduces programming time.
 35 Use varchar data type not char or nvarchar when using SQL Server.
  • Web Form for char fields require user to erase spaces, which is unacceptable.
 36 Each table will have an auto populating primary key which is indexed. The field name will be the table name without the leading "t" followed by "Id", CustomerOrderId. All related tables will use the same field name.
  • Reduces programming time.
 37 Relationship will be established on and maintained by the database server, not the application.
  • Increases programmer efficiency.
  • Allows future applications to benefit.

Application Design Rules

 38 The names of web pages have no capitalization, spaces or underscores.
  • Reduces programming time.
 39 All web pages will be stored in the root directory of the sites except images. Sub webs may be created as children of the root.
  • Reduces programming time.
  • Reduces maintenance time.
 40 There will be an images directory, where all images are stored.
  • Reduces maintenance time.
 41 Add "About" About this site. Give Effort and Methodology
  • Others can see how the site was done. This might help them decide how to do their sites.