Chapter 5: The interface
Vince Flanders, on his site Web Pages that Suck, offers what he calls his most important design tip: “All it has is the question, ‘Would Amazon.com use that design element on its site?’ It’s an important question because Amazon.com has probably spent more time and money researching what works and doesn’t work on a Web site than anyone.”
The user interface of a Web page uses metaphors, images and concepts to convey function and meaning. The visual characteristics of the graphic interface and the functional sequence of interactions over time produce the characteristic look and feel of Web pages, with their hypertext linked relationships. The authors of The Web Style Guide write that graphic design and signature graphics are not used simply to enliven Web pages graphics are integral to the users experience with your site. In interactive documents, graphic design cannot be separated from issues of interface design.
The students who complete this chapter should be able to:
- organize the information for their websites in a structure based on the principles of information architecture.
- discuss how site search works and define the long tail of a website.
- describe the different types of site hierarchy.
- explain some of the research on how readers view web pages and how this might affect our information architecture.
- define navigation and wayfinding as the terms apply to web pages and state the principles of wayfinding in websites.
- describe interface design conventions and explain the functions of headers, footers, main content areas and scan columns.
- discuss the principle of free-standing pages and explain why it is important.
- analyze hyperlinks and differentiate good links from bad.