“Anyone trying to connect with an audience must treat the user‘s time as the ultimate resource. Most web sites squander time shamelessly.” This is the basic message of Jakob Nielsen, who has spent 15 years designing user interfaces for IBM and Sun Microsystems. Here are a few specific suggestions drawn from his own web site:

1. Keep your site simple. “Mainstream users care about useful content and good service. The latest technology usually invites crashes, slows navigation and discourages users from returning to your site.”

2. Avoid orphan pages. “Users often access pages directly, without entering through your homepage. So make sure that each page clearly indicates what site it belongs to. Every page should have a link back to the home page, as well as an indication of where the pages fits within the structure of your information space.

3. No blinking. “Never include page elements that move incessantly - scrolling text, running animation, messages and icons that blink. Moving images don’t help visitors find what they’re looking for - they attack the senses.”

4. Keep it short. “Web viewers don’t read, they scan. On average, only 16% of web visitors read word for word. So write half as many words as you would for the printed page.”

5. Cut download times. “This is Web Design 101, but it’s more important now than ever. Because the Net is adding users faster than it’s infrastructure, bandwidth is getting worse instead of better. Ten seconds is the minimum time that users will wait before losing interest.”

Click here to visit Jakob Nielsen’s Web Site

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