10 Principles Of Effective Web Design


Usability and the utility, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of a web-site. Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has become a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. After all, if users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist.

We aren’t going to discuss the implementation details (e.g. where the search box should be placed) as it has already been done in a number of articles; instead we focus on the main principles, heuristics and approaches for effective web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.

Please notice that

This article has been translated to Hebrew4.

Principles Of Effective Web Design

In order to use the principles properly we first need to understand how users interact with web-sites, how they think and what are the basic patterns of users’ behavior.

How do users think?

Basically, users’ habits on the Web aren’t that different from customers’ habits in a store. Visitors glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. In fact, there are large parts of the page they don’t even look at.

Most users search for something interesting (or useful) and clickable; as soon as some promising candidates are found, users click. If the new page doesn’t meet users’ expectations, the Back button is clicked and the search process is continued.

  • Users appreciate quality and credibility. If a page provides users with high-quality content, they are willing to compromise the content with advertisements and the design of the site. This is the reason why not-that-well-designed web-sites with high-quality content gain a lot of traffic over years. Content is more important than the design which supports it.
  • Users don’t read, they scan. Analyzing a web-page, users search for some fixed points or anchors which would guide them through the content of the page.

    Users don’t read, they scan. Notice how “hot” areas abrupt in the middle of sentences. This is typical for the scanning process.

  • Web users are impatient and insist on instant gratification. Very simple principle: If a web-site isn’t able to meet users’ expectations, then designer failed to get his job done properly and the company loses money. The higher is the cognitive load and the less intuitive is the navigation, the more willing are users to leave the web-site and search for alternatives. [JN / DWU]
  • Users don’t make optimal choices. Users don’t search for the quickest way to find the information they’re looking for. Neither do they scan web-page in a linear fashion, going sequentially from one site section to another one. Instead users satisfice; they choose the first reasonable option. As soon as they find a link that seems like it might lead to the goal, there is a very good chance that it will be immediately clicked. Optimizing is hard, and it takes a long time. Satisficing is more efficient. [video6]


    Both pictures show: sequential reading flow doesn’t work in the Web. Right screenshot on the image at the bottom describes the scan path of a given page.

  • Users follow their intuition. In most cases users muddle through instead of reading the information a designer has provided. According to Steve Krug, the basic reason for that is that users don’t care. “If we find something that works, we stick to it. It doesn’t matter to us if we understand how things work, as long as we can use them. If your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboard, then design great billboards.”
  • Users want to have control. Users want to be able to control their browser and rely on the consistent data presentation throughout the site. E.g. they don’t want new windows popping up unexpectedly and they want to be able to get back with a “Back”-button to the site they’ve been before: therefore it’s a good practice to never open links in new browser windows.

1. Don’t make users think

According to Krug’s first law of usability, the web-page should be obvious and self-explanatory. When you’re creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks — the decisions users need to make consciously, considering pros, cons and alternatives.

If the navigation and site architecture aren’t intuitive, the number of question marks grows and makes it harder for users to comprehend how the system works and how to get from point A to point B. A clear structure, moderate visual clues and easily recognizable links can help users to find their path to their aim.


Let’s take a look at an example. Beyondis.co.uk10 claims to be “beyond channels, beyond products, beyond distribution”. What does it mean? Since users tend to explore web-sites according to the “F”-pattern11, these three statements would be the first elements users will see on the page once it is loaded.

Although the design itself is simple and intuitive, to understand what the page is about the user needs to search for the answer. This is what an unnecessary question mark is. It’s designer’s task to make sure that the number of question marks is close to 0. The visual explanation is placed on the right hand side. Just exchanging both blocks would increase usability.


ExpressionEngine13 uses the very same structure like Beyondis, but avoids unnecessary question marks. Furthermore, the slogan becomes functional as users are provided with options to try the service and download the free version.

By reducing cognitive load you make it easier for visitors to grasp the idea behind the system. Once you’ve achieved this, you can communicate why the system is useful and how users can benefit from it. People won’t use your web site if they can’t find their way around it.

2. Don’t squander users’ patience

In every project when you are going to offer your visitors some service or tool, try to keep your user requirements minimal. The less action is required from users to test a service, the more likely a random visitor is to actually try it out. First-time visitors are willing to play with the service, not filling long web forms for an account they might never use in the future. Let users explore the site and discover your services without forcing them into sharing private data. It’s not reasonable to force users to enter an email address to test the feature.

As Ryan Singer — the developer of the 37Signals team — states14, users would probably be eager to provide an email address if they were asked for it after they’d seen the feature work, so they had some idea of what they were going to get in return.


Stikkit16 is a perfect example for a user-friendly service which requires almost nothing from the visitor which is unobtrusive and comforting. And that’s what you want your users to feel on your web site.


Apparently, Mite requires more. However the registration can be done in less than 30 seconds — as the form has horizontal orientation, the user doesn’t even need to scroll the page.

Ideally remove all barriers, don’t require subscriptions or registrations first. A user registration alone is enough of an impediment to user navigation to cut down on incoming traffic.

3. Manage to focus users’ attention

As web-sites provide both static and dynamic content, some aspects of the user interface attract attention more than others do. Obviously, images are more eye-catching than the text — just as the sentences marked as bold are more attractive than plain text.

The human eye is a highly non-linear device, and web-users can instantly recognize edges, patterns and motions. This is why video-based advertisements are extremely annoying and distracting, but from the marketing perspective they perfectly do the job of capturing users’ attention.


Humanized.com18 perfectly uses the principle of focus. The only element which is directly visible to the users is the word “free” which works attractive and appealing, but still calm and purely informative. Subtle hints provide users with enough information of how to find more about the “free” product.

Focusing users’ attention to specific areas of the site with a moderate use of visual elements can help your visitors to get from point A to point B without thinking of how it actually is supposed to be done. The less question marks visitors have, the better sense of orientation they have and the more trust they can develop towards the company the site represents. In other words: the less thinking needs to happen behind the scenes, the better is the user experience which is the aim of usability in the first place.

4. Strive for feature exposure

Modern web designs are usually criticized due to their approach of guiding users with visually appealing 1-2-3-done-steps, large buttons with visual effects etc. But from the design perspective these elements actually aren’t a bad thing. On the contrary, such guidelines are extremely effective as they lead the visitors through the site content in a very simple and user-friendly way.


Dibusoft.com20 combines visual appeal with clear site structure. The site has 9 main navigation options which are visible at the first glance. The choice of colors might be too light, though.

Letting the user see clearly what functions are available is a fundamental principle of successful user interface design. It doesn’t really matter how this is achieved. What matters is that the content is well-understood and visitors feel comfortable with the way they interact with the system.

5. Make use of effective writing

As the Web is different from print, it’s necessary to adjust the writing style to users’ preferences and browsing habits. Promotional writing won’t be read. Long text blocks without images and keywords marked in bold or italics will be skipped. Exaggerated language will be ignored.

Talk business. Avoid cute or clever names, marketing-induced names, company-specific names, and unfamiliar technical names. For instance, if you describe a service and want users to create an account, “sign up” is better than “start now!” which is again better than “explore our services”.


Eleven2.com22 gets directly to the point. No cute words, no exaggerated statements. Instead a price: just what visitors are looking for.

An optimal solution for effective writing is to

  • use short and concise phrases (come to the point as quickly as possible),
  • use scannable layout (categorize the content, use multiple heading levels, use visual elements and bulleted lists which break the flow of uniform text blocks),
  • use plain and objective language (a promotion doesn’t need to sound like advertisement; give your users some reasonable and objective reason why they should use your service or stay on your web-site)

6. Strive for simplicity

The “keep it simple”-principle (KIS) should be the primary goal of site design. Users are rarely on a site to enjoy the design; furthermore, in most cases they are looking for the information despite the design. Strive for simplicity instead of complexity.


Crcbus24 provides visitors with a clean and simple design. You may have no idea what the site is about as it is in Italian, however you can directly recognize the navigation, header, content area and the footer. Notice how even icons manage to communicate the information clearly. Once the icons are hovered, additional information is provided.

From the visitors’ point of view, the best site design is a pure text, without any advertisements or further content blocks matching exactly the query visitors used or the content they’ve been looking for. This is one of the reasons why a user-friendly print-version of web pages is essential for good user experience.


Finch26 clearly presents the information about the site and gives visitors a choice of options without overcrowding them with unnecessary content.

7. Don’t be afraid of the white space

Actually it’s really hard to overestimate the importance of white space. Not only does it help to reduce the cognitive load for the visitors, but it makes it possible to perceive the information presented on the screen. When a new visitor approaches a design layout, the first thing he/she tries to do is to scan the page and divide the content area into digestible pieces of information.

Complex structures are harder to read, scan, analyze and work with. If you have the choice between separating two design segments by a visible line or by some whitespace, it’s usually better to use the whitespace solution. Hierarchical structures reduce complexity (Simon’s Law): the better you manage to provide users with a sense of visual hierarchy, the easier your content will be to perceive.


White space is good. Cameron.io28 uses white space as a primary design element. The result is a well-scannable layout which gives the content a dominating position it deserves.

8. Communicate effectively with a “visible language”

In his papers on effective visual communication, Aaron Marcus states three fundamental principles29 involved in the use of the so-called “visible language” — the content users see on a screen.

  • Organize: provide the user with a clear and consistent conceptual structure. Consistency, screen layout, relationships and navigability are important concepts of organization. The same conventions and rules should be applied to all elements.
  • Economize: do the most with the least amount of cues and visual elements. Four major points to be considered: simplicity, clarity, distinctiveness, and emphasis. Simplicity includes only the elements that are most important for communication. Clarity: all components should be designed so their meaning is not ambiguous. Distinctiveness: the important properties of the necessary elements should be distinguishable. Emphasis: the most important elements should be easily perceived.
  • Communicate: match the presentation to the capabilities of the user. The user interface must keep in balance legibility, readability, typography, symbolism, multiple views, and color or texture in order to communicate successfully. Use max. 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes — a maximum of 18 words or 50-80 characters per line of text.

9. Conventions are our friends

Conventional design of site elements doesn’t result in a boring web site. In fact, conventions are very useful as they reduce the learning curve, the need to figure out how things work. For instance, it would be a usability nightmare if all web-sites had different visual presentation of RSS-feeds. That’s not that different from our regular life where we tend to get used to basic principles of how we organize data (folders) or do shopping (placement of products).

With conventions you can gain users’ confidence, trust, reliability and prove your credibility. Follow users’ expectations — understand what they’re expecting from a site navigation, text structure, search placement etc. (see Nielsen’s Usability Alertbox30 for more information)

BabelFish in use: Amazon.com in Russian.

A typical example from usability sessions is to translate the page in Japanese (assuming your web users don’t know Japanese, e.g. with Babelfish32) and provide your usability testers with a task to find something in the page of different language. If conventions are well-applied, users will be able to achieve a not-too-specific objective, even if they can’t understand a word of it.

Steve Krug suggests that it’s better to innovate only when you know you really have a better idea, but take advantages of conventions when you don’t.

10. Test early, test often

This so-called TETO-principle should be applied to every web design project as usability tests often provide crucial insights into significant problems and issues related to a given layout.

Test not too late, not too little and not for the wrong reasons. In the latter case it’s necessary to understand that most design decisions are local; that means that you can’t universally answer whether some layout is better than the other one as you need to analyze it from a very specific point of view (considering requirements, stakeholders, budget etc.).

Some important points to keep in mind:

  • according to Steve Krug, testing one user is 100% better than testing none and testing one user early in the project is better than testing 50 near the end. Accoring to Boehm’s first law, errors are most frequent during requirements and design activities and are the more expensive the later they are removed.
  • testing is an iterative process. That means that you design something, test it, fix it and then test it again. There might be problems which haven’t been found during the first round as users were practically blocked by other problems.
  • usability tests always produce useful results. Either you’ll be pointed to the problems you have or you’ll be pointed to the absence of major design flaws which is in both cases a useful insight for your project.
  • according to Weinberg’s law, a developer is unsuited to test his or her code. This holds for designers as well. After you’ve worked on a site for few weeks, you can’t observe it from a fresh perspective anymore. You know how it is built and therefore you know exactly how it works — you have the wisdom independent testers and visitors of your site wouldn’t have.

Bottom line: if you want a great site, you’ve got to test.



  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/09/27/10-usability-nightmares-you-should-be-aware-of/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/10/09/30-usability-issues-to-be-aware-of/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-rss.php
  4. 4 http://d-webs.com/lhe/apage/27944.php
  5. 5 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html
  6. 6 http://www.etre.com/usability/eyetracking/showme/
  7. 7 http://searchengineland.com/070413-121955.php
  8. 8 http://blog.eyetools.net/eyetools_research/4_community_of_learning/index.html
  9. 9 http://www.beyondis.co.uk/
  10. 10 http://www.beyondis.co.uk/
  11. 11 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html
  12. 12 http://expressionengine.com/
  13. 13 http://expressionengine.com/
  14. 14 http://www.thinkvitamin.com/training/webapps/web-app-form-design/
  15. 15 http://www.stikkit.com/signup
  16. 16 http://www.stikkit.com/signup
  17. 17 http://www.humanized.com/
  18. 18 http://www.humanized.com/
  19. 19 http://dibusoft.com/
  20. 20 http://dibusoft.com/
  21. 21 http://www.eleven2.com/
  22. 22 http://www.eleven2.com/
  23. 23 http://crcbus.mattiaviviani.net/
  24. 24 http://crcbus.mattiaviviani.net/
  25. 25 http://getfinch.com/
  26. 26 http://getfinch.com/
  27. 27 http://cameron.io/
  28. 28 http://cameron.io/
  29. 29 http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~matt/courses/cs563/talks/smartin/int_design.html
  30. 30 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/
  31. 31 http://babelfish.yahoo.com
  32. 32 http://babelfish.yahoo.com
  33. 33 http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~matt/courses/cs563/talks/smartin/int_design.html
  34. 34 http://nibis.ni.schule.de/~lepke/homepage/webdesign/webdesign.html
  35. 35 http://www.macgregor.net/speaking/digitaleve/UID.swf
  36. 36 http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html
  37. 37 http://www.sylvantech.com/~talin/projects/ui_design.html

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Great Article!

  2. 2

    10. Test early, test often

    This has to be the best tip!

    Thank you for this smashing-roundup!

  3. 3

    Raj from BlogHash.com

    January 31, 2008 8:42 am

    Wonderful. Bookmarked to use it for my next website design.

  4. 4

    Nice Article! Love the usability stuff!

  5. 5

    Love the article, hits on some very important parts. Made may sit back and think of the things i’ve done in the past and how it affects things i do now. These type of articles makes a developer rethink the whole process of building a website. Which i think keeps your mind open to new methods.

  6. 6

    Good advise. It’s always good to take a step back from design, personal taste etc to make sure that it is easy to use for the audience. My toughest critic is my dad ie someone who is not all that web saavy. But a lot of the time this is our audience, someone who is not all that good with computers.

    Thanks for the article

  7. 7

    I’m still amazed I wasn’t reading your website before. Thanks a lot.

  8. 8

    Wow nice article. I didn’t think so much about these. Thanks for the article

  9. 9

    Really helpful article.

  10. 10


    This is definitively going on my post.

  11. 11

    This article is frustrating for 10 + 1 reasons almost:
    -1 “Usability and the utility, not the design, determine the success or failure of a web-site.”
    Usability and the utility are the design. If by design you mean decoration, that too has a rich history filled with meaning.

    0 How do users think?
    That’s like asking “How do people think?”. they think in all kinds of ways, rational, irrational, quickly, slowly, etc. There is no point in asking this question because the answers are infinite. I agree with this statement “users follow their intuition”, which is totally unpredictable.

    1 “Don’t make users think”
    That’s right people. Strive for the status quo and the familiar. Do what has been done before and make sure people are comfortable. Wear your khakis and polo shirts.
    Making something “obvious and self-explanatory” doesn’t hinge on simplicity or how much someone has to ‘think’.

    2 “Don’t squander users’ patience”
    Okay. How will you know what will make them impatient?

    3 “Manage to focus users’ attention”
    This is all adding up to a Target commercial.

    4 “Strive for feature exposure”

    5 “Make use of effective writing”
    Even if it us unnecessary. Just put it in somewhere.

    6 “Strive for simplicity”
    Strive for whatever you want. Do something crazy. Do something dumb. Do something elegant. Do something messy. They are all valuable.

    7 “Don’t be afraid of the white space”
    Don’t be afraid to dump everything you own into a pile on your living-room floor. It will probably be more interesting than lots of white space.

    8 “Communicate effectively with a “visible language” ”

    9 “Conventions are our friends”
    Here, Here, for mediocrity!

    10 “Test early, test often”
    Just wing it. It will force you to be creative and maybe do something you’ve never done before.

  12. 12

    @theSupermarket: you have no idea what you are talking about.

  13. 13

    The above poster proves the point that you can never make EVERYONE happy….but atleast they were able to get out their frustrations by posting that lengthy list.

    Hope you feel better now.


  14. 14

    I agree with Thomassl

  15. 15

    Great article even if the first part was featured in another article (that I actually printed in COLOR with my expensive HP printer, but I don’t care, totally worth it).

  16. 16

    Amazing.. !! this is a real good reference for my upcoming projects !

  17. 17

    I really love this stuff :)

  18. 18

    Thank you for this article!

    It’s really useful for new webdesigners!

  19. 19

    Great stuff, keep on the good work! :)

  20. 20

    Wonderful article…best one I have read this week (and I read a lot of them). Thank you for sharing such great information.

  21. 21

    If you need a good sample website for #6, you should use kokokaka.com as opposed to crcbus… especially considering when crcbus ripped off kokokaka, they documented it in their ‘style of the day’ area. :)

  22. 22

    I don’t agree with you in that first point. Sometimes users have to think about websites. It’s about content that matters. And about development of our work. There has been a basic article by Larissa Meek at Devlounge about metaphors in website design and content. I really didn’t like it when i read it the first time. But actually i do think that we have to think about it. Maybe it’s up for transcending designs? How can we bring the web one step further without changing ourselves and our work?


  23. 23

    This is what I call a Qualitative Post .

    Great Job!

  24. 24

    Very good article! All communication professionals should read it.

  25. 25

    Outstanding article!

  26. 26

    Great article except I read #7 (don’t be afraid of whitespace) and I wonder whatever happened to the nice flow that SM used to be. The damn column is so narrow now that there’s either too much whitespace (on the right) or not enough (on the left).

  27. 27

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t possibly follow any web design suggestions from a site as poorly designed as this one. One narrow column and a page full of ads? You’ve got to be kidding me!

  28. 28

    Surely, usability is objective. What works for some people might not for others..and unless your data sample is huge, you cant make statements as such. That said, the trends above are a damn good basis to work from.

  29. 29

    Great, really great,
    I’m especially amazed with the “don’t be afraid of the white space-part”; in the 11th and 12th century architects and artist put many paintings and sculptures in the interior of churches, not only to teach the illiterate folk, but also to avert the “HORROR VACUUI”, the fear of empty space, empty walls…. many centuries later Malevich did the complete opposite. The white square on white.
    It’s obvious this article is made by a proffesional!!!
    Marko, BA in arts+web designer

  30. 30

    nice article, does anyone know the font used for the finch logo fresh creative? Its pretty sweet. I wanna buy it.

  31. 31

    Great resource! Really useful stuff.

  32. 32

    I like the advice to strive for simplicity. I enjoy visiting sites that don’t over complicate things. Thanks for another great article.

  33. 33

    extreme webmaster

    January 31, 2008 4:54 pm

    Useful stuff. Applicable in all areas where there is any human-machine interaction involved. And Steve Krug’s book rules. He is a master – he explained these concepts in a way so simple, entertaining and clear, that his book is really a classic.

  34. 34

    10 point you have to follow

  35. 35

    Super article. I really think that we as web developers must focus on keeping things simple. Remember the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)!

  36. 37

    a great and comprehensive article, I’ve to keep in mind with my further designs

  37. 38

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. I have been a web developer for quite some time and ideas presented here are very much welcome.

  38. 39

    Nice Article!.. i really do find some sites that looks nice and eyecandies but its usability specially rule no.”1″.. many of them leaves questions like “what the hell does that mean?” and “what’s this site really do?”, this article is really a big help for me to understand more about usability. Thanks!

  39. 40

    Yes, the people were impatient…
    When see a site with great content, they wants to get a lot of information site fast…
    So, it’s good to structured the navigation to help the people…

    This is really great explanation about web-design principle.

  40. 41

    Great, all-around tips for designers!

  41. 42

    The 4th bullet under the “How do users think?” headline reads:
    “As soon as they find a link that seems like it might lead to the goal, there is a very good change that it will be immediately clicked.”

    Is it me or doesn’t it seem it should read: “… there is a very good chance that it will be immediately clicked.” ???

    Great article though, Just wish authors would catch this kind of thing, it’s starting to get old.

    — Micah

  42. 43

    err… ok, so.. how you can have a note like this,, and not a “share it” link?.. i want to send this note to someone… didnt find the “share it” feature…..??!!!!

    this is a “do what i say must not what i do” sample =P

  43. 44

    Spyros Papaspyropoulos

    February 1, 2008 1:38 am

    Great article! Some things written in it had never crossed my mind.
    Many thanks for this!

  44. 45

    I mean its simply great… really loved the article..

  45. 46

    Superb Article.
    Provides great insights into a subject which is usually not given much consideration.

  46. 47

    Good points! I’ve have a look to my site from this perspective! Thx

  47. 48

    Good work! Interesting and complete.

  48. 49

    I definetly will save this for future reference. Great writing guys! Thanks.

  49. 50

    cool work! i enjoy it!

  50. 51

    Awesome article! Comes right when i need it the most. Thanks SM!

  51. 52

    Great post, many useful tips in here.

  52. 53

    Beautiful stuff. Your articles are all starry in my Google Reader ;)

  53. 54

    Richard Francis Kay

    February 1, 2008 3:19 am

    Good to point this out! Especially ”cos it’s tempting to create websites “flooded” by design. The websites nowadays are really appealing, but they lean more towards an experience. And that’s not the main point, if you are searching/browsing. Websites should be serving the main goal: giving information. Design shouldn’t cover it up. And therefore should be used effectively – usability and focus are key – design is in a supporting role (depending ofcourse – or just only make a sitemap without any design – just fonts – or is that design too?) :-P

  54. 55

    I like this article, some very valid pointers, which, if followed can result in a well ‘designed’ project.

    I also like the Supermarket’s comments from a ‘creative’ point of view….a messy unpredictable palette of ideas can always be good, to push the boundaries – but this articles lays foundations to ensure that however creative you feel, your user’s will still be able to easily use the machine you build.

  55. 56

    great article for web designers… thanks…

  56. 57

    Good principles in theory, but in real situations where the customer satisfaction is the goal of the design, some of this principles are not used.

  57. 58

    Nice Article. Every web designer/developer must know this.

  58. 59

    “Web users are inpatient and insist on instant gratification. ” Goes along with “Web gurus don’t edit themselves well.” Unless you meant to say that patients in the hospital want instant gratification while those on outpatient status are content to wait.

  59. 60

    Thanks, the heat maps are really interesting, and useful tip about the F pattern, as for printed stuff a typical scan is a Z.

  60. 61

    Great post! =]

  61. 62

    Another poignant article — thanks! Regarding Principle #1, Steve Krug’s book is fantastic, and I strongly recommend reading it… “Don’t Make Me Think”

  62. 63

    Really good article even if some of the points can be discussed… Really good sum-up for great designs!

  63. 64

    “f you have the choice between separating two design segments by a visible line or by some whitespace, it’s usually better to use the whitespace solution”Good article, but I disagree with the above statement. Whitespace could be used to separate two design segments for sites with minimal content, but for sites with an abundant amount of content, lines are better because lines are visual cues of separation. Having whitespace to separate segments is like throwing a pile of clothes in a room. It just looks disorganized. Look at http://www.nytimes.com Can you imagine this site without lines?

  64. 65

    Great article as always.

  65. 66

    This is a great summery. I also recommend “Designing Web Usability” and “Don’t make me think”. I guess your post is a great summary of boths books.

  66. 67

    Always a pleasure to read your articles, thanx for the amazing contributions to the web community.

  67. 68

    ThanX for this Article … it`s very useful for web designers. I`m new in this area of web design and I had really need this. Thank YOU Again

  68. 69

    Nice article. Good fundamentals matched with great grafix, who would have thought that could work?
    Thanks, bookmarked!

  69. 70

    Another great article. I wish I could convince all of the departments at my office that insist on being on the homepage of this.

    To add on to this article, there are 5 things that I would consider are essential to a website;

    1. Site logo – distinguishing feature across all pages of the site. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be suprised
    2. Search Function – some users are search heavy, others are scanners. In addition, check your internal search just as you would with your external search. It will do wonders for your conversion rate.
    3. Sections – Permanent navigation that corresponds and links to the main sections of your site. Navigation should be consistent and prevelent on all pages of your site.
    4. Utilities – Utilities are those critical elements to a web site’s functionality that don’t necessarily add to the site’s content or sections. Examples include sitemap, about us, contact us and help.
    5.Home Button and “You are Here” indicators – let the user know where they are in relation to the rest of the site. If they feel they are getting in over their head they will usually just leave.

    Good work again,


  70. 71

    Great post. I wish I could brand the points on the behinds of a couple of clients I’ve had.

    My only small quibble is with the statement, “the best site design is a pure text”.

    This of course is not true and is easy enough to demonstrate. There are design elements that go beyond “pure text” and people expect and require them. Indeed, it’s be strange if they didn’t.

  71. 72

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    February 2, 2008 3:33 am

    @Leo Klein: it wasn’t meant to sound like this. What it means is that in the best case users who are searching for information would like to see the contet with exactly the kind of data they’re looking for. Not more, not less. But, of course, there is no such thing as “best site design” or something similar.

  72. 73

    The comments about the white space are a great reference, I don’t think they are used enough. Check out A List Apart for another good white space article.

  73. 74

    I really appreciate the point of keeping things simple. Often clients want to slam as much content as humanly possible into every space of their pages. This is aggravating and most people do not wish to see this when visiting a website. Well spaced thoughtful layouts are always the best idea. Make use of your users screen real estate regardless of what resolution their at. Cluttered websites definitely aid to fickle traffic.

  74. 75

    First of all, the website shouldn’t be displayed in a narrow column. This page layout is awful and makes the article painful to read…

  75. 76

    your article remembering me with a book with the title “Dont Make me Think!” (author: Steve Kurg)

  76. 77

    Good guidelines with great examples! Will sure keep them in mind when designing my next website.

  77. 78

    taxa inmatriculare

    February 4, 2008 12:51 am

    Great stuff, article #7 sounds very interesting, good work guys!

  78. 79

    Great! Usability in a Nutshell.
    Rock on!

  79. 80

    Great post … I love the heat maps!

    But when you say “Don’t be afraid of white space” I hope you’re not recommending people use only the left-most 20% of their page for content .. (bit like this page looks to me at the moment). Can’t you make your main content area a bit wider?

  80. 81

    The first sentence is a bit off I think. Via good visual design you get good usability.

  81. 82

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    February 4, 2008 8:07 am

    @Owen Cutajar: we use a fluid layout. The layout will expand if the window size is bigger. You have the full freedom to see the site as you wish as it dynamically fits to the size of your browser window.

  82. 83


    I conducted a survey not so long ago (1500+ respondents) and about 80% said they want external links and documents (PDF, Word docs) open in a pop-up window, so they don’t go back to a page they were on through 10 “back” clicks.

    Should I follow design advise on this page or what my users are asking?

  83. 84

    I have to agree that the layout of Smashing seems to be unpleasant now, the right hand column is way too dominant. It takes at least 50% of the screen at my normal browser window size.
    Have you changed layouts?

    I am forced to fullsize my browser window up to 1280×1024 before it becomes less unpleasant. At 1024×768 it must be unbearable.

    I am actually considering writing my own custom CSS just so I can look at your site without wincing. I have already had to adblock your sponsors to try and balance the page up a bit.

  84. 85

    Oh man I hate the 50/50 layout of Smashing magazine.

    sure I could re-size my browser up to fill my whole screen in an attempt to get the right balance, but that still isn’t enough. I have to drag the browser window across two screens before the layout looks right. By that I mean , the right column is between 30% and 25% of the window width. 50% – 45% is ugly as hell.

    Please, please, please reduce the width of your right column, it dominates the actual content.

    I commented on this earlier but that one vanished .

  85. 86

    Good post, but I disagree with “If you have the choice between separating two design segments by a visible line or by some whitespace, it’s usually better to use the whitespace solution.” A line is a visual cue for separation. Using whitespace to separate segments with very little content is ok (still better to use a line), but not using a line to separate segments with abundant amount of content is like looking at a pile of clothes in my room. Can you imagine nytimes.com without lines?

  86. 87

    Dont make me think!!!!
    this is the great book for a good web design!

    very nice summary.

  87. 88

    Regarding comment number 13 and 9 “’Conventions are our friends’
    Here, Here, for mediocrity!” Conventions (“a collection of accepted knowledge”), a noun, are not the same thing as conventional (“unimaginative and conformist”), an adjective. It’s what the conventions are applied to that dictates whether the end result is mediocrity.

  88. 89

    I liked point number 5 and I will have to consider changing one of my sites as a result.

    Thanks a lot.

  89. 90

    siddharth from rapfodet

    February 6, 2008 9:49 am

    Like the first point very much.

    User will go to some other site for sure if the interface is not user friendly.

    Thanks for the great article buddy.

  90. 91

    Hehe, I feel like people at my work should read this list over and over again every morning before they start doing anything! Thanks for gr8 article.

  91. 92

    This was by far the best article smashing magazine added in 2008, anyways, we also need to think the lives of the millions of graphic artists who survive because of the web as a medium. What I feel is the new trend is to make those Graphic artists get out of the web.

    CSS started the trend and 3/4th of the people who were doing web sites have gone out of the same because of the big learning curve…

  92. 93

    awesome article. :)

  93. 94

    David Jacques-Louis

    February 9, 2008 1:53 pm

    It’s all here, amazing.

  94. 95

    Great article, I always try to apply these principles – if only clients always agreed ;)

  95. 96

    Excellent article as always. =]. Great help.

  96. 97

    Ditto, great tips!

  97. 98

    @Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz
    still it doesn’t change the fact that in each window resolution you have the right side of the page full white with no content

  98. 99

    Good intro. Would be great to see more detailed article as well.

  99. 100

    Really very good article…. going to help me alot…. to make my websites more popular

  100. 101

    Thanks this will help me!

  101. 102

    I love pointseven but I think it’s also the hardest point to stick to!

  102. 103

    What I really appreciated is that you used pretty much every technique you talked about in this article. Great examples!

  103. 104

    You should consider taking your own advice. At 1024×768 the only thing about this article you see on the page is the headline. Other than that it’s just ads and a serious turn-off. Even at much higher resolutions it just looks awful and you’re lucky to see the first paragraph. You said you are using a liquid layout but if that’s true then you certainly aren’t looking at your site in all browsers.

  104. 105

    Reasonable article, but when I find these articles on these sorts of sites I always ask myself “Why should anyone listen to advice from a designer who plasters his website with gigantic blinking ads?”

  105. 106

    Many of these design ideas target first time users and are quite effective with that audience.

    However, if you have a site with regular visitors, oversimplifying the design and having too few options wastes peoples’ time and annoys them. For regular visitors, feature-rich interfaces and more content is very important and helpful.

    This is one of those cases where you need to consider one’s audience before choosing the design emphasis.

  106. 107

    thanx for this great article. But I actually think you can omit your beginning google ad sometime

  107. 108

    All in all a good article with lots of good info. However, I take exception to the first sentence, “Usability and the utility, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of a web-site.”

    A study done by Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University shows that Web users form first impressions of web pages in as little as 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second). Through the “halo effect”, first impressions can color subsequent judgments of perceived credibility, usability, and ultimately influence our purchasing decisions.

    I’m not arguing that usability is not important. It is. But so is the visual design of your site. You may have the best usability in the web, but if your site looks like it was designed by a 6th grader using FrontPage, then your credibility is going to be shot from the get-go.

  108. 109

    well your right about content i dont like your site at all but the content keept me here.

  109. 110

    This article features some great advice. However, I do have to agree with some previous posters about the layout of THIS site. My first impression was not the best: I’m finding it very hard to read this article on my 1600 x 1050 monitor: the text-rows are far too long. I much prefer a fixed column width (thats why print media use multiple columns). Of course I could resize the browser, but that surely isn’t very user friendly…?

  110. 111

    They should have used a bullet list instead of a number list if items listed have equal value, or are not ordered by importance.

  111. 112

    I appreciate the eye path images. That’s a really interesting usability issue to consider.

  112. 113

    What blinking ads?

  113. 114

    Excellent article. Now if only your website could follow most of the Principles. What is that crap cluttering the right hand side of the page?
    Even on my Widescreen monitor it’s a mess. I really don’t see the need of a list of the top 50 Popular posts, it’s just clutter.
    Thankfully I see no ads around because of some blockers.

  114. 115

    Interesting ideas but, ironically, I found your layout and presentation made me want to read less not more!

  115. 116

    Well Steve, I was thinking the exact same here… :-)

  116. 117

    Kind of useless I would say, on EVERY point you can find NUMEROUS and VERY SUCCESSFUL example for doing exactly the opposite, actually theSupermarket is very very right about what he said. The most absurd think is dividing content and design. First, the content don’t depend from the designer – if the client say “ok, I will put only this and this” you can’t do much in that direction. Second, and most important, please, write it somewhere: web design is about putting CONTENT online. Your content could be a single image, but this is your content. And it’s your job to design the visualization of THAT content instead of saying “crap, I need more content, I’ve read somewhere that content is more important than the design”. Third, the designing the content appearance is the differences between good and mediocre designers. Fourth, there are DIFFERENT type of web sites with DIFFERENT goals. And Fifth – THERE IS NO A BRILLIANT IDEA IN THE HUMAN HISTORY THAT COMES FROM FOLLOWING THE RULES.

    In brief – crappy article for mediocre designers

  117. 118

    Fantastic post, I really enjoy it, one my friend said to read and I am so happy to read it specially this section -“How do users think?”


  118. 119

    A very thoughtful and nicely presented article. Thank you.

  119. 120

    This is a fantastic article! Content like this is what has finally convinced me to subscribe to Smashing Magazine feed after more than a year of occasional readership. Great work!

  120. 121

    What the hell is the product in #3? Lack of questions marks, you must be joking!!

  121. 122

    Helpful words, you make it sound easier than it is in practice.

  122. 123

    Nice points, all the things we tend to forget over time….

  123. 124

    Good article I completely agree with the principal that useabilty not visual design makes a website. Combing both is an obvious bonus. For example these web designers in cheltenhamfollow the same pricipals. great article.

  124. 125

    web design cheltenham

    February 13, 2008 1:48 pm

    Good article although most great designers should design from the aspect of the end user. One of my biggest greivances with web sites are the fact that finding a companies contact details can be a real pain,

  125. 126

    Lancashire web design

    February 14, 2008 5:34 am

    Glad to see The Supermarket website places such a huge emphasis on usability…
    Good primer, thanks.

  126. 127

    An article from which many could learn.

  127. 128

    Enjoyed reading through this article. Good job.

  128. 129

    i would add another point here – links to external sites should open in new window

  129. 130

    Kudos on you for a fantastic article. I have to disagree on one thing though:

    “Once the icons are hovered, additional information is provided.”

    ‘Mystery meat’ navigation is never excusable, and I find it quite surprising you would ‘endorse’ it. Otherwise, nice work.

  130. 131

    wow…thanx a lot

  131. 132

    Some amazing tips! Very nice article…one I will send immediatly to my gfx-co-worker.

  132. 133

    Hey theSupermarket,

    It’s obvious you design for yourself. Your satisfaction; your ego; your creative urges.

    If you have spent any time with actual users you would endorse these “rules” (oh, no, not that word) and help your audience and client to have a good experience while visiting one of your sites.

    Nah, you should keep doing what you’re doing and piss off your users (see Web Credibility Report by B.J. Fogg at Stanford University).

  133. 134

    I really like the article. Thanks a lot!

  134. 135

    interesting and useful

  135. 136

    Hi Great and intresting article.

  136. 137

    OUTSTANDING article. Indeed, the user wants the best possible experience, so we must be careful, as webmasters, to provide them with an interface that is not overloaded with junk that might spoil their visit. Good observations here! Regards, Keith Johnson, Webmaster “FreeMathRescue.com”.

  137. 138

    nice!!Helped Gett the teacher of my back its great!!

  138. 139

    sandie sørensen

    March 11, 2008 12:31 am

    Ia have to disagree a little bit with this statement… Sometimes- if the user is browsing through a large website, they tend to like it if a link to an external website opens in a new window. In this case it will be possible to browse around on the new website and close it if the user didn’t find what he or she was looking for. And they are happy that the original webpage isn’t gone…

    Am I right?

  139. 140

    Awesome article. I’ve learned a lot.

  140. 141

    this is cool guys!

  141. 142

    just another guy

    March 22, 2008 5:34 pm

    how can one possibily consider the article crediable from a page designed this poorly… I guess it’s a matter of do what I say not what I do….

  142. 143

    Aleksandar Uzunov

    March 31, 2008 12:26 pm

    Well done……..very clear, practical and useful information for the beginners!!!
    Greetings from Macedonia!

  143. 144

    Nice article thanks !

  144. 145

    Hierarchical structures reduce complexity (Simon’s Law): the better you manage to provide users with a sense of visual hierarchy, the easier your content will be to perceive

    That’s my favorite part, under #7. Whitespace is so great when used well.

  145. 146

    This was really helpful. Thanks for the information!

  146. 147

    great post

  147. 148

    Nice post.! it’s quite good and i’ve learn a lot.. Thanks…

  148. 149

    Good blog

  149. 150

    Supplements Canada

    April 17, 2008 7:49 pm

    Number 10 I would say is probably the most important. It is through testing that you really determine whether your design is a winner or a loser.

  150. 151

    Really informative!

  151. 152

    Great article. I used it as the basis for a post on my own blog, heavily harvesting the points above to discuss.

    I really appreciated the references to Nielsen tenants strongly supported with the eye tracking studies. Excellent points and even better presentation.

    Now if those reading both your and my post would only follow said advice … but I digress.

  152. 153

    This minimal design? Only crashing concept …

  153. 154

    This is a great article on site user behavior, which is something that most web designers ignore. It’s important to know how people’s attention span works on your site, and to look at analytics data to see exactly what works for your page design and what doesn’t. The key is testing everything to see what works best, because you never know until you test it.

  154. 155

    Web designer should always offer an audience a user friendly website. When an audience visit a site which is poor in web design, it would surely leave a bad impression.

  155. 156

    Oh man, you just helped me out an insane amount – I’m off to design a new layout, I definitely need one.

    Maybe now my girlfriend will let me test my design on her, finally.

  156. 157


  157. 158

    Diptiranjan Rautray

    June 18, 2008 9:42 am

    Good Article. !!

  158. 159

    It’s really mind blowing information for any web developer
    Thank you very much.
    Love this Site, Each Article so important that i can’t explain. wonderful.
    Thank you again.

  159. 160

    very usefull information ….

  160. 161

    Ya you gave right suggestion by your article.I have get full enjoy from your article.

  161. 162

    Thank you, will keep it in mind.

  162. 163

    When I read post #13 from Supermarket and other bitter posters I get a feeling these guys just feel left behind with their year 2004 flash skills and, back then, fresh and creative minds that was something new on the web.

    This article shows how to create the typical web 2.0 site by todays “web rules”. The flash-site dogma that ruled the Internet a few years ago does not really apply in todays web 2.0 climate where usability is more important than clever flashbased graphic solutions.

    I guess they have to realize that todays web is becoming more about whats best for the user and not whats best for the designers ego.

    The real conflict lies in that this article is more focused on how to produce web sites that are usable services with the purpuse of selling things or providing correct and quick information to the users rather than addressing other webbased graphic designers where the creative sollitions is the primary goal, like designers portfolios etc.


  163. 164

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

  164. 165

    Great article!

  165. 166

    You use the word “scan” when you mean “skim”. “Scan” means to read closely, that is, with attention to detail, the opposite of what you we were wishing to express. Users skim read web pages, they don’t scan them. Lots of people make this mistake. It is, in fact, so common, that perhaps over time “scan” will change meaning (to its opposite!)

  166. 167

    Good information ….

  167. 168

    Excellent! A big help, thanks very much.

  168. 169

    People want information fast and will not always do what you expect. I agree that usability is much more important than making a flashy site. People are only on your site to gather information, learn, or buy something not to guess which pretty button they need to click to find an address.

    I’m working on adding more features to mine with better picture displays and maybe more little menus while still having an interesting usable layout. Thanks for the refresher.

  169. 170

    First of All Thanks for the wonderful articles and also very thankful for the people providing such a nice platform to interact and share thoughts and suggestions………..very nice……..
    Thank u so much……….

  170. 171

    Great Tips…thanks for posting this information.

  171. 172

    This is very usefull information thank you , great tips A**

  172. 173

    Nandini@HIPs Consultant

    November 29, 2008 2:09 am

    Excellent article, great tips. Thanks for writing such an informative post on web designing.

  173. 174

    Great writing. Useful tips. Thanks for all the information that you have provided in your post. Its really going to help the website designers.

  174. 175

    Thanks for providing all these useful tips. All the web designers should definitely read this post.

  175. 176

    What a fantastic article! Who is the author? I didn’t see it listed, specifically. Is it Vitaly and/or Sven, who are listed below, or someone else?

  176. 177

    The tips you have provided are very useful. Thanks for writing such a good post.

  177. 178

    I find all the tips to be very useful. Thanks for writing such a nice post on website designing.

  178. 179

    Awesome article.
    It has been bookmarked and i will definitly use it while i develope my website.

  179. 180

    All the tips are really useful. Thanks for writing such an informative post.

  180. 181

    Great post. I think this article is really going to help me. So, I have bookmarked this page. I find all the information provided in this post are useful. Thank you so much.

  181. 182

    You have considered each and every topic web usability to design an effective website.

  182. 183

    6. Strive for simplicity

    I think this is very important! Huge Sites with many pictures that a overloading the hole thing…

    clean, small design are the best! Give the user that what he wants: INFORMATION!

    i really use this rule for all of my projects!

  183. 184

    This website is soo amazing!

  184. 185

    I wish I was smart enough to make a website

  185. 186

    Great article, thanks a lot. Many amazing ideas and tips.

  186. 187

    great article

  187. 188

    Incredible article – I bookmarked it and gave it a rave review, and now I plan on implementing all I learned on my manifest passive income website.

    Thank you so much for the generous amount of valuable info!
    to your continued success…kim

  188. 189

    I Rofled, this article is loltastic………..

  189. 190

    Excellent post. The tips are really helpful. So, I have bookmarked the page. Thank you so much for writing such an interesting as well as useful post.

  190. 191

    Fantastic article as always. The important of white space and simplicity are my favourite points – there’s nothing more pleasing to the eye than minimal, spacious web sites. You just need to turn down the ‘visual noise’ sometimes to allow the user to think clearly.

    All the best.

  191. 192

    What an interesting post. Thanks so much for providing such useful tips on website designing. I think its really going to help me and so have bookmarked the page.

  192. 193

    how interesting blog post.. thanks for the article written in this blog, i learn a lot. my thoughts is so nice to help, that is the reason why i have bookmarked in this page. hope you grant it and more more articles are post.

    its really cool…

  193. 194

    this really helped me out. NOT. this site was fuckin hopeless. i cant believe u nerds think that this shit was usefull.

  194. 195

    Now i know why is this article the most popular for the phrase ” Effective Web Design ” in Google. I wish each designer know this 10 principles, it’ll make the web a better place.

    Thanks for the great article.

  195. 196



  196. 197

    You will be glad to know that just after reading your post I have bookmarked it for future use. Actually I find your article to be a very informative one. Those who are pursuing a course on website designing must go through it.

  197. 198

    I’m going to second some of the comments here, and then I’ll go back and actually try to get past your glaringly incorrectly first sentence. Color, look and feel are as much a part of the functional design of an interface as the functionality and behind the scenes programming. To separate any of those components out and discard it is erroneous.

  198. 199

    A very good article, but something that turns visitors off are spelling and grammar errors. You, in fact, have at least one yourselves. Challenge: find it.

  199. 200

    Just now I have read your post and have bookmarked the page. Actually, my sister is pursuing a course on website designing and I thought that this post will help her a lot. Let’s see.

  200. 201

    I have to admit, I scanned your page for info, very little reading good job!

  201. 202

    This article gives very good information to the reader. The article is very informative and very helpful. These 10 rules will help and relate to all web sites. These 10 rules are very good and should be used to help create every web site because it helps to make the site better and easier on the reader’s eyes.

  202. 203

    This post is really useful for those, who are pursuing course on website design. One of my sisters is doing this course so I have suggested her to read your post. All the best.

  203. 204

    The post is no doubt helpful for all those who are doing a course on web design. Some of my cousins are pursuing this course. So, I have suggested them to go through this article. Let’s see what happens.

  204. 205

    Great articles, working on a web site my self

  205. 206

    Awesome ! I’ve only just stumbled across it. When I was designing My Blog Site – I was really concerned about people being able to get to articles quickly. On the back of this I think i’ll need to add a better tag search function as some content is not accessible in 3 clicks…

    Cheers !

  206. 207

    Las Vegas Web Design

    April 3, 2009 10:23 pm

    Useful tips. Thanks for choosing this topic. I think all the website designers should atleast go through it once.

  207. 208

    I run a professional web design and SEO company and have come to appreciate simplicity in web design over the last 5 years.
    1) Simplicity: not to flashy or too much text (and)
    2) Easy Navigation are two critical success factors.

  208. 209

    Ken Stimpson ICT

    April 21, 2009 2:39 am

    I think this website blog is well good, i LOVE (L) it sooooooooooooooooooo much :) x

  209. 210

    Great article…thanks!

  210. 211

    elly mbilinyi

    May 3, 2009 5:43 am

    This article is good ,but i think user need to grow as web technology does.

  211. 212

    Not a good article, but a good summary of Don’t make me think and some other stuff

  212. 213

    Content Writing

    May 7, 2009 9:33 pm

    Thanks for all the tips.

  213. 214

    Graphic Design

    May 8, 2009 8:47 pm

    I must say that all the tips you have provided here are useful.

  214. 215

    Graphic Design

    May 8, 2009 8:50 pm

    All your tips are useful. Thanks for that.

  215. 216

    Thats an excellent piece of information provided. May be some point may vary for different users, but over and all a good knowledge transfer to us. Thanks a lot.

  216. 217

    Cashew Export Business

    May 21, 2009 9:09 pm

    I went through your entire post and find all the tips mentioned here to be useful. Thank you so much. I think this post will really help me in future. So, I have bookmarked it.

    Cashew Export Business

  217. 218

    Sandro @ guavestudios.com

    June 6, 2009 9:35 am

    Very useful and – what is even more important – practical information!
    Your samples show that there is to find a consensus between design and usability – thats the way it should go!

    I think Nielsen-esque usability testing (at least that of around year 2000) finds what it is looking for and ignores what it is unable to measure. For example most usability tests are unable to evaluate the success of a site in terms of conveyed emotion, because emotion is something that most users have difficulty articulating…

    Would like to read more of it :)

  218. 219

    Wonderful article, redesigning my site based on the points presented.

    You may desire to check your links to various web pages used for reference as they have changed or are no longer available.

  219. 220

    Sad to report this link is dead
    Regards MohJoe

  220. 221

    Thanks for the article!!
    I learned a lot today

  221. 222

    i wana find out who is writing those comments above me

  222. 223

    I love this article..I learned a lot of today ^_^

  223. 224

    Thx man, good advice

  224. 225

    Good article…

    This page itself is well designed, not due to layout but because of content.

    Leave a reply section must be before the posts.

  225. 226

    I love this post. Test Test test… key to usability.

    Desarae A. Veit

  226. 227

    i love my life

  227. 228

    Tom - New Evolution Designs

    October 3, 2009 1:09 pm

    Don’t make people think and simplicity are my 2 favorites! =)

  228. 229

    Thanks for the reference always a good to get an idea on how to do good website design !

  229. 230

    Instead users satisfice… Satisficing is more efficient.

    What the heck is “satisfice”? Did you mean “instant gratification”? LOL

  230. 231

    It’s a good article though… don’t mean to imply that it’s not. J

  231. 232

    heeey, this article is hot! call me

  232. 233

    okay whats your number babe

  233. 234


  234. 235
  235. 236

    hey baby why did you hung up on me your voice is sooo sexy

  236. 237

    im sorry sexy
    it cut out. call me back whore (:

  237. 238

    :) im talking to you.
    dude wanna sextext?

  238. 239

    thats okay

  239. 240

    the most useful article
    thank you very much for your awesome presentations.

  240. 241

    Very informative and interesting, have learnt a lot about my site today and will look at the website again with the view that I dont want to make them think and ensure everything is intuitive

  241. 242

    nice articall =)

  242. 243

    hi kendraa!

  243. 244

    God, You suck! This is not principles of design, this is some shit to get some people interested. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS !

  244. 245

    Great information – presented really well. Thanks for this.

  245. 246

    Good article. Very useful. It’ll be interesting to see if web user habits change with design or if design will continue to cater to user habits. Thank you for the info!

  246. 247

    Very gud article .The explanation is dead simple and clear.love the stuff..

  247. 248

    just used your article as a reference for a school user interface guidelines assignment. got more out of your article than the entire chapter! thanx.

  248. 249

    Wow exelente i like!

  249. 250

    Perfect article. Remember KISS Keep It Simple Sumbitch

  250. 251

    George Garchagudashvili

    March 3, 2010 5:10 am

    Really great article…

  251. 252

    I love your web site

  252. 253

    GOLD!!!!!!!!! Awesome! Thank you!

  253. 255

    good post serves as a good guide for website development

  254. 256

    Hmmm… In the point (2)…..the action button is to far from the last input of the form. Maybe it was good practice, position the primary action button below the checkbox….just an opinion based on the heat map experience.

  255. 257

    ITS OK

  256. 258

    I just was on the site for 10 Principles Of Effective Design at http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/31/10-principles-of-effective-web-design/ and loved this site so much that I wanted to get a screen shot of one of the points talked about for my college class in Web Design I at the University of Phoenix if that is alright? My reason was not for a comment but to say is a wonderfully easy site but how do I take a screen shot using a Mac Desktop Computer I am not used to using this new computer and would really love some help I see the ” fn” button but do not see a “prt Sc” to do this does Does anyone know how to do this? I am lost here.


    Amy P Omaha NE College Student in IT ,,,

    • 259

      Hi Amy

      I know your question is really old but, in case you never received the reply you hoped for, or someone else reads your comment and has the same question: This is how you can grab a screenshot on the Mac.

      Press [Cmd][Shift][4]

      Your cursor will change to a cross mark and will display the current screen x,y co-ords. Click at any point on the screen and then drag to another point. As soon as you release the mouse button, the area you selected will be saved as an image, on your desktop.

      Hope that helps somebody :)

  257. 261

    Very helpful info and right on. Thank for the examples!!!

  258. 262

    Simply amazing

  259. 263

    thanks for your tips, they really helped me, keep it real.

  260. 264

    Great article! Very informative! However, there are a lot of grammatical errors. It’s a virtual epidemic throughout so many design articles. I realize many designers may not speak English as a first language, but if we’re going to discuss usability in the first place, let’s discuss having a copywriter or editor on hand before we publish written content that may be hard to read.

  261. 265

    cheers mate,
    great tips and very useful. cheers

  262. 266

    i like cheese…

  263. 267

    John Paul Carlo Uy-Calumpong

    June 27, 2010 6:53 pm

    Rating: 11 of 10. :-bd

  264. 268

    yoro kalbo

  265. 269

    bianca panhatten

    June 27, 2010 6:57 pm

    i agree with john

  266. 270

    FRD <3

  267. 271

    Yoro kalbo

  268. 272

    ur mom is afraid of white space

  269. 273

    Im bald

  270. 274

    0i,aYuzZz n@maN p0whzZz……

  271. 275

    chess i like

  272. 276

    I rock :)

  273. 277

    ur mom needs testing

  274. 278

    mahal ko si tantan

  275. 279

    BLaCK EyEd PiSS

    July 1, 2010 3:55 am

    imma bee bee bee imma imma bee

  276. 280

    Guru Tuginmypudha

    July 1, 2010 3:59 am


  277. 281

    Great article. Very help ful tips guys! Keep the good job!

    Web Design

  278. 282

    Thank you! Very useful!

  279. 283

    Useless, dated information.

    I work at a design company that handles many famous firms and clients. You are way off. Your advise looks like Web design 101, year 1995. Get a refresher course. I cant believe how little about web design many of your visitors know.

    Guys, this doesn’t work with the big firms. Nor even with the tiny firms.

    • 284

      Gunther, can you share some principles that are more up-to-date and effective? Any useful information is appreciated. It is a jungle out there for people who are wanting good information without taking college courses.

  280. 285

    major major

  281. 286


  282. 287


    September 8, 2010 10:51 pm



    WEAK SI PAULO.,……..

  283. 288


  284. 289

    this is a good TEC learning sight

  285. 290

    I love this web-page! and rose…

  286. 291

    I am a tech person in tech school in parramatta. My boyfriend reccomended this site for me.

  287. 292

    this is possibly the best TEC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! site ever

  288. 293

    Th4nxx for th1s 1337 art1cl3, i c4n now us3 it for my w3bsit3.

  289. 294

    ice ice baby

  290. 295

    Great Site mate!

  291. 296

    i loove this job

  292. 297

    Good Good post! It has helped me loads! I am looking at getting a web design done by absolutewebdesign any chance you could take a look at there site for me and there portfolio and let me know what you think of the usability! Would help a load, the price is good and I really want to go with it, just need clarification!

  293. 298

    Some interesting points – although many have been mentioned before. I agree that testing the website with an unrelated person is very important and not done often enough. Unaware clients do seem to get hung up on the design aspect rather than focusing on content and communication…….

  294. 299

    add funny reflections so the user empathize with your the page, about the annoying but necessary functions of the page. also addressing this recommendations.

  295. 300

    i love the content of this website

  296. 301

    Awsome! After reading this article I became more confident in my design projects. Thank you for writing this. Great job!

  297. 302

    great sample and comment.

  298. 303

    Awesome! You are rock star!

  299. 304

    Many thanks you for this blog which you have made by your patient and thinking power. You really know so much about this matter. You’ve covered so many bases. Great substance from this part of the internet. Thanks again for your creation.

  300. 305

    This is a really helpful article. It doesn’t matter what field you work in, communication is key part in success! Thanks for sharing.

  301. 306

    This tells me nothing

    • 307

      Thanks very much for this great ronduup, and for sharing a couple of my posts as well. Much appreciated. Cheers!

  302. 308

    These tips are overly generalizations and I don’t buy 50% of them. Design and engaging graphics do matters. The best site design was pure text -15 years ago. Today’s users expect quality design. I don’t think I would stay on an all text site for a moment unless it was Craig’s list. The better way to design is to understand the purpose of the web site. Some web sites only need to convey text or need a simple design, other web sites need dynamic design and graphics. It depends on what you are selling and what the website goals are. Simplistic articles like this should be taken with a grain of salt.

  303. 309

    OH nana, what’s ma name , OH nana what’s mah name.? the square root of 69 is 8 something

  304. 310

    So, the owners of this site delete comments that describe the usability issues with large titles/headers, but allow dozens of comments along the lines of, “I like cheese…” and “OH nana, what’s ma name , OH nana what’s mah name.? the square root of 69 is 8 some” to remain??!


    Your credibility is zero, in my book.

  305. 311

    nicely put up together
    For detailed learning go for “don’t make me think ” by steve krug
    very well written and nicely formatted .

  306. 312

    Nice read, I especially like number 8, communicating properly makes a huge difference. I think this guy makes some of the same very valid points http://coalitiontechnologies.com/seo-strategies-that-work/1226/

  307. 313

    shot solly
    this is a real help

  308. 314

    Cheer cuz, mean as g.

  309. 315

    your the man j-dagg xx

  310. 316

    trisha kaye jongo

    June 21, 2011 5:14 pm

    very informative!!!! i learned a lot

  311. 317

    Great information! I really liked the advice on writing simply instead of trying to confused things with exagerated or unclear advertising jargon. I’ve been reading this blog. clocktowermedia.com/blog/view/seo-tip-chapter-1-seo-demystified and it has some good info on integrating email marketing and social media advertise to work in conjuction with your website.

  312. 318

    Steve Southampton

    August 9, 2011 4:00 am

    Great article, so many in-depth points that people should consider when involved in the design of a website. So many of these points are not taken seriously enough and could make the difference between a site failing or being a success. Thanks for sharing.

  313. 319

    Oh come on. You guys are stupid. The mnemonic is “Keep it simple, stupid,” or KISS. Not KIS.

  314. 320

    good article.

  315. 321

    ang haba naman nito

  316. 323


  317. 324

    This is a really well done article. Thank you for the list and the supporting sites as examples.

  318. 325

    Thanks for the info, this article will surely stick to my mind for the rest of my web developer career… :D

  319. 326

    Good web design is also about ease of use. Ease of use is not simple, because users are not a homogeneous group. There are several explanations of what usability is and how this can best be achieved. Much of this is made ​​by Jacob Nielsen, a proclaimed guru in usability. Personally, I have more sense of User Interface Engineering’s forskningsresulateter published on this subject. I choose to use a rewritten version of the conclusion of their article Testing the Three-Click Rule in my aktivtek.no webdesign academy.
    Ease of use is that the user can easily find what he seeks.

  320. 327

    like ur site , but u shd be precised too …
    lengthy is boring…. !!!!!

  321. 328

    These are very good point but you made mistake in Number 10th heading.
    “Accoring to Boehm’s first law” You forgot to put “D” in according.

    • 329

      Ahmed El Sokkary November 17th, 20118:10 amVery Interesting, thkans for the effort you took collecting this amazing materials.

  322. 330

    Regarding the principle #5:
    ‘…if you describe a service and want users to create an account, “sign up” is better than “start now!” which is again better than “explore our services”… ‘
    In this article http://bokardo.com/archives/why-you-should-bury-your-sign-up-button/ the author states exactly the opposite:
    ‘ …”they took away the “sign up” button and instead put a “learn more” button at the bottom of the page they got a 350% increase in sign ups” …’
    What’s the better approach?

  323. 331

    Well written and very useful. Liked how straight to the point each of the ten items were and there were no tangents.
    Thanks, very helpful

    • 332

      Joan Bauer November 18th, 2011 4:09 pm Good stuff Sarah!! I ejyenod this article and your presentation.

  324. 333

    Great article! Thanks!

  325. 334

    thank for this important information. I m will graduate in this year for graphic designer, and I m having a first footprint in this.
    I m Cuban, sorry because of my english

  326. 335

    good post and amazing picture. Good web design is also about ease of use. Ease of use is not simple, because users are not a homogeneous group.for more information about web design development visit http://www.chennaipixel.com

  327. 336


  328. 337

    Awesome…Excellent Description

  329. 338

    Brilliant idea and also great for freedom of speech and exposing things that need exposing.
    Thank you for this information. Is there any tips for making a website secure and make the chances of someone hacking your site less likely?

  330. 339

    great article

  331. 340

    thanks for sharing! ;)

  332. 341

    The max 3 type styles and 3 type sizes recommendation is ridiculous. Unless Mr. Marcus can show empirical data on it, that recommendation is meaningless. Look at the top 500 sites on the web and tell me how many sites break that recommendation. You can use 4, 5 or 6 type sizes and be totally OK as long as you’re using them logically and consistently. Recommending a 3 size max is akin to the “Must be able to get to all pages in 3 clicks” myth that was shattered with a little actual research. Thanks for the rest of the content though. Much of it is very helpful.

  333. 342

    These are great and the best fundamental principles of design the world have had @ the moment so far, is not easy thinking to design as a good designer but let your ideas and innovations lives generations long for the others to emulates you. Produce the best and lets your best be from these tips for the world to remember forever.

  334. 343

    I will try to apply these effective website designing principles on my web sites. Then I will tell you the results. Thanks.

  335. 344

    Best article I’ve read about web design to date. Learned a lot. Thanks!

  336. 345

    No problems encountered certain people and certain countries where the internet connection is very slow and can not open a website

    in fact almost 50% of internet users get internet speeds are low, of course this is very detrimental to the owner wesbite

  337. 346

    Great Post Vitaly! amazing tips to go through. it is also important now to create your website design with friendly to smart phones. in 2013, most likely you will have lots of visitors browsing your website from a smart phone, so in order to not lose them, it is essential to build a web design friendly and optimized to meet this technology which is always in a rapid usage increase.


    Ann Daniel

  338. 347

    Hey Vitaly

    Thanks for this useful article!

    I published a blog post recently: “Webpages That Work” brightbyte.co.uk/webpages-that-work/. I hope your readers find it useful.


  339. 348

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

    • 349


      It’s not necessarily that expensive. All I had to do to get setup on a WordPress blog like this was to pay for a domain name and get hosting. I was able to get a .com domain name for around $10 per year. For hosting, it really depends on what type of hosting you need. Many people will only need shared hosting which I’ve seen for $4 to $6 per month.

      And this is to get your own domain name and have the freedom of a self hosted blog. If you didn’t care about the domain name and you didn’t mind being limited, you could have a blog for free.

      If you’re interested, wordpress has a ton of info at wordpress.com for the non-self hosted version and wordpress.org for self-hosted blogging.

  340. 350

    Principles of a good Website design also includes high appreciation for analysis and quality. It offers users with good content, with minimal advertisements and maximum design. If the navigation time of the website is higher than users seek alternatives and leave the site

    Moreover there are other things that can be taken in consideration for the effective website design.
    1. Analysis
    2. Process Methodology


  341. 351

    Websites must be relatable to users.the design itself is useless if the content is not relevant to user”s needs in gathering information. Ideally, it is said that websites like any other technology-related stuff must be “user friendly”. Good thing that in modern time, there is an easy access to refer any problems regarding innovative approaches relating to web designs.

  342. 352

    Thank you very much for sharing these informative tips.I think Web site design and organization is based on the goals you have for your site and the needs of your viewers

  343. 353

    Nice read, I especially like number 8, communicating properly makes a huge difference. I think this guy makes some of the same very valid points http://www.redcherryinc.ca/services-software-development-calgary.php

  344. 354

    fantastic article, im very happy for find this beutifull content. bravo

  345. 355

    Great article, so many in-depth points that people should consider when involved in the design of a website. So many of these points are not taken seriously enough and could make the difference between a site failing or being a success.

  346. 356

    Great article! Very informative! However, there are a lot of grammatical errors. It’s a virtual epidemic throughout so many design articles. Your advise looks like Web design 101, year 1995. Get a refresher course.


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