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The perils of hiding navigation

Side drawer navigation could be costing you half your user engagement The side drawer navigation menu is similar in function to the hamburger menu, as used on the Study at St Andrews website. The side drawer / hamburger menu has been an increasingly common design pattern, especially on mobile, and particularly Android. But it seems…

28 May 2014Design

Don’t break the back button

4 design patterns that violate back-button expectations One of the biggest usability faux-pas we can commit is “breaking” the back button. The back button is by far the most commonly used function of a web browser, and users have certain strong expectations about how it should work. If we violate the user’s expectations, it can…

17 April 2014Design

The usefulness of global navigation

Global navigation is less useful on large, complex websites Here is a thought-provoking article about global navigation. We made the decision to remove the University’s global navigation menu from the Study at St Andrews website. But Study at St Andrews has a global navigation menu of its own. If someone is in the non-degree courses…

7 March 2014Design

Should I use a carousel?

Should I use a carousel? In case you were still in doubt…

27 February 2014Design

The length of landing pages

What’s more effective: long or short landing pages? Here is an interesting analysis on the pros and cons of long and short landing pages. Some people have a perception that homepages must always fit in “above the fold”, but this is usually not the case. Longer landing pages are better for generating more trust and…

25 February 2014Design

Designing university websites

University websites: top 10 design guidelines This study from Nielsen Norman Group assesses higher education websites in four countries including the UK. This is very relevant to us, and I would encourage anyone involved in the University website to have a read of this. Why should universities care about usability? Aren’t students smart and computer…

11 February 2014Design

Lessons learnt from responsive design

Rolling out responsive BBC News worldwide: what have we learnt so far? This article looks at the rollout of a responsive web design for BBC News in multiple languages across the world. The experience of BBC News further underlines why it is so important to use responsive web design today: Overall, we’ve learnt that users…

7 January 2014Design

Carousels: advantages and disadvantages

This week, a series of articles about the advantages and disadvantages of carousels. We begin with a couple of articles from usability expert Jakob Nielsen. Auto-forwarding carousels and accordions annoy users and reduce visibility Carousels are often useful for organisations like Universities to use for political reasons – to get more information on prominent pages.…

12 July 2013Design