Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

A Rule of Thumb for Usability

I just noticed a mistake that web pages make frequently with the use of links. I thought about it and I think a good general rule of thumb is this “A contextual link shoud never have the same destination as a navigation link.” This mistake frequently gets made with design portfolio work but I’ve seen it in plenty of other pages. I’m going to pick on Eyewonder for an example. If you go to their video ad formats page you will be told, in general, about the various video ad formats they can create. Let’s say you want to know more about video in banner ads and you go here. You are now in the “Video Banner Ad” subsection where you will notice a link that says “See Showcase”. Now, given the context, what kind of showcase do you think you’re going to see? I would bet most people think that they would see a showcase of Video Banner Ads. After all, that’s the subsection you are in. Not so fast. “See Showcase” actually showcases all the various types of video ads. The site’s uability would improve if “See Showcase” were located in the left navigation as a top level link, thereby implying that it pertains to all the video ad formats as opposed to any format individually.

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