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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nielsen: Sometimes Users Ignore Fancy Stuff

Jakob Nielsen says users tend to ignore heavily formatted areas on a website because they resemble promotions. It’s a side-effect of banner blindness and could hit you too if you design a site and try to put special focus on something by making it stand out in fancy ways. Nielsen adds that using fancy words instead of plain-spoken English will also increase the chance people ignore a section.

I remember one user at our Google Modules directory who sent us feedback that he wasn’t able to find the place to submit a module. Turns out the “Submit module” is the fanciest thing on the page – a smooth & big round-edges button along with an arrow icon – but that doesn’t mean it’s instantly perceived. Sometimes, plain blue links using plain words do wonders for visibility. Interestingly enough, Google still uses plain blue links for much of their services & applications navigation.


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