Professional Development Committee, Spring Technology Workshop
The Elements of Creating a Web PageHomePreviousNext



Whole site design

  • Human - computer interaction
  • Organization
  • Navigation
  • Style guide

    Page design

    Color and Graphics




    Site map

  • Whole site design -- Human-computer interaction

    People don't read web pages -- they SCAN them
    Most will scan a web page looking for key terms rather than read it word-by-word. Use headings, subheadings, bulleted lists and highlighted keywords to assist in scanning.

    People don't like to scroll
    Most have a low tolerance for scrolling through long pages of text. Use the "inverted pyramid" style of writing to put the conclusion near the top of a page. Avoid length whenever possible.

    People are impatient with slow page download
    Most are willing to wait between 10 to 15 seconds, but after that forget it! Avoid "heavy" pages -- large amounts of text and lots of graphics that make a web page "weigh" more than 70K should be avoided when possible. One trick is to take advantage of browser cache by using the same graphic(s) on each page. After loading the first page, graphics will be cached, saving wear and tear on the web server and speeding up page load time.

    Cluttered, busy pages can be hard to use Animated graphics, gratuitous and numerous graphics, blinking text, noisy background patterns or colors make it harder to read a page.

    For more information:

    Comments? Contact:
    Scott Britton, or
    Martin Hollick, or
    Julie Wetherill
    Copyright 1998, Harvard University. All rights reserved. Revised March 1998TopPreviousNext