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Useful Usability Tips

Smashing Magazine recently published “10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines“. Actually great work by Dmitry Fadeyev. I find the list well-written, well documented and the principles are easy to apply (or advocate in your team).

The main points are:

  • 1. Form Labels Work Best Above The Field
  • 2. Users Focus On Faces
  • 3. Quality Of Design Is An Indicator Of Credibility
  • 4. Most Users Do Not Scroll
  • 5. Blue Is The Best Color For Links
  • 6. The Ideal Search Box Is 27-Characters Wide
  • 7. White Space Improves Comprehension
  • 8. Effective User Testing Doesn’t Have To Be Extensive
  • 9. Informative Product Pages Help You Stand Out
  • 10. Most Users Are Blind To Advertising
  • Bonus: Findings From Our Case-Studies

Just to pull one of many useful findings:

1. Form Labels Work Best Above The Field

A study by UX Matters found that the ideal position for labels in forms is above the fields. On many forms, labels are put to the left of the fields, creating a two-column layout; while this looks good, it’s not the easiest layout to use. Why is that? Because forms are generally vertically oriented; i.e. users fill the form from top to bottom. Users scan the form downwards as they go along. And following the label to the field below is easier than finding the field to the right of the label.

Tumblr features a simple and elegant sign-up form that adheres to UX Matter’s recommendation.

Even though most of the findings are pretty much basic stuff, I highly recommend reading it and researching the linked articles in the bottom.

7 Responses to “Useful Usability Tips”

  1. Rafael Montenegro Says:

    Just to point a mistake:
    4. Most Users DO Scroll


  2. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    @Rafael: Thanks! The error occured because I scraped the headings and stripped all HTML tags. I have reinserted the



  3. Max Says:

    Hi Jesper…
    Your blog seems compromised…
    look at the article page-source and search for bubble…

    Good luck!

  4. maca Says:

    great post with very interesting tips.
    for me “simple is nice”

    thank you for sharing

  5. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    @Max. Thanks for noticing. I’ll give it a look!

  6. ZigPress Says:

    I often read Smashing Magazine but missed this one, so thanks for the summary article!

    I particularly agree with the scrolling issue – the days of having to have EVERYTHING important above the fold are long gone.

  7. SVnet Says:

    I’m a regular reader of Smashing Magazine
    They always post very interesting article including this one