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
- 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.