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Web Usability

Although HCI principles apply equally well to both graphic user interfaces and Web interface design, there are significant differences between GUIs and the Web. There are several unique Web features to which GUI-experienced usability designers should pay particular attention. Among the more prominent are compatibility with device and browser diversity, user-initiated and -controlled navigation, and low cost of switching between sites. Other Web-specific factors include multiple points of page entry into a site, ease of being distracted with the enormity of information available, and the easy ability to personalize what visitors want to see.

In a course I teach to professional developers on Web usability, I asked a group of 15 participants, who were experienced in both GUI and Web design, to brainstorm about the differences between GUIs and the Web that should concern designers. Here are the ten most important differences the group identified.


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