Jakob Nielsen’s annual Top 10 design mistakes

Jakob Nielsen has published his annual list of design mistakes. Read the whole thing, of course, but here’s one to pay attention to:

7. Anything That Looks Like an Advertisement
Selective attention is very powerful, and Web users have learned to stop paying attention to any ads that get in the way of their goal-driven navigation. (The main exception being text-only search-engine ads.)Unfortunately, users also ignore legitimate design elements that look like prevalent forms of advertising. After all, when you ignore something, you don’t study it in detail to find out what it is.

Therefore, it is best to avoid any designs that look like advertisements.

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One thought on “Jakob Nielsen’s annual Top 10 design mistakes

  1. I personally think this line is one of the best for newspaper Web sites to follow:

    Search is the user’s lifeline when navigation fails.

    Nearly every newspaper Web site uses navigation based on the print product, which is something that I’m not sure works best for the Web. It also presents far too many options for users who simply want to see the latest information, or who are only after a specific item (that’s where good search comes in).

    I hope more Web sites try to differentiate themselves from the print product with any 2007 redesigns — I’d love to see them do for the Web what the Web does best (and not emulate print).

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